The Turtle islands
Thursday 10th July we left Pulau Lankayan and headed south to the Turtle islands marine park. After arriving in the afternoon a squall blew up preventing us from going ashore but the following morning we headed for the beach. The white sand squeaked under our feet as we walked around the waters edge.
There were turtle tracks going up into the sand dunes all around the island where the female turtles haul their huge bodies ashore to lay their eggs. Once the eggs are laid she crawls back down the beach into the ocean leaving her eggs to fend for themselves.
It was forbidden to walk among the nesting sites although there aren’t any eggs there because the morning after they’ve been laid the staff from the conservation centre dig them up and remove them to the hatchery where they have a better chance of survival.
Turtle eggs are delicacies to monitor lizards, like this big chap we saw walking around the island, and to the Chinese who buy them on the black market.
We spent a few days relaxing there as the rest of the boats arrived. We found a bit of nice coral but it wasn’t a patch on Pulau Lankayan.
We tried anchoring off of one of the other islands for a change of scenery but the area has very deep water and the anchoring was challenging so we went back to the main island and spent a few days doing boat jobs and writing.
Monday 14th Sazli the rally organiser arrived and we were all invited to a meeting on shore. We spent an interesting afternoon learning all about the turtles and the conservation carried out at the resort on the island. It was also arranged that one of the resort boats would come and get us all after dark to watch a turtle laying her eggs and to release some baby turtles.
As usual the weather didn’t behave, can you see the storm clouds gathering?
We managed to get back to the boat before the storm broke and raised the dinghy. Very soon the rain started, how it rained and rained and rained. At the same time the wind picked up to 30 then 40kts. The first boat to start dragging was Sailabout but there was nothing we could do but look on as they fought to get the anchor on board and re-anchor. The boats were all bucking like broncos and the rain continued to lash down. We were watching Calypso behind us and Labarge in front of us and they stayed the same distance from us. We thought that Out of the Blue II were motoring forward. I called Lyn on the radio to ask if they were motoring forward but she replied they were still anchored that meant only one thing – Calypso, Labarque and we were all dragging our anchors towards the island.
Bill had already managed to get the snubber off earlier so I crawled to the bow to guide Bill with hand signals as we raised our anchor. After about 10minutes of screaming into the wind and gesticulating frantically the anchor lifted clear of the water but not without a massive thump on the bow as it swung clear of the water. We motored to the other side of the bay, where there was a bit more shelter from the strong current that was pulling us towards the island, and re-anchored. Needless to say the trip ashore was cancelled and I didn’t get to see the turtles laying their eggs or release the baby turtles.
Chris on Out of the Blue II managed to take these photos of Camomile as she was bucking in the storm.