Arrival at Sandakan (Borneo)

Taxi at 5.30, all excited for the day ahead. Itinerary on day one is getting settled in to accommodation, a dinner on the beach followed by a walk to see the turtles laying eggs, hatching and legging it to the sea, obviously not that fast.

The view of Mount Kinabalu from the plane is fantastic, most people are Kipping on this early 3/4 of an hour flight but me and Al’s heads are all over the place… coming in to land now.

We were met by our guide to be, Patrick, or as he introduced himself, Patrick of Borneo(you’ve probably heard of him?). He hasn’t stopped chatting since we met him, (we call him Kee of Borneo) filling our heads full of wonderful facts about what has happened to Sangat since it was flattened in the war and the Japonese left in 1945.

Patrick of Borneo then took us to the Jetty where we got an extremely fast speed boat which took us 45 mins to reach the island, my first action when stepping onto the speedboat was to drop two bottles of coke and 3 bottles of water into the sea as the handle on my carrier bag snapped ( hhheeeerrss Keviiiiinnnnn) Some kind chap retrieved the afformentioned bottles and we were off.

Checked in and hit the beach having rented our scuba mask, flippers and snorkel. We then spent the day alternating between sunbathing, watching Nemo and Dori’s friends and exploring the island ( you can walk all the way round in 20 mins) this was only punctuated by a spot of lunch and a tipple of whiskey n coke and Bacardi and coke that we had bought with us ( so glad that kind man rescued the coke from the sea!

Sunset here is about 6 ish and there is no walking on the beach after 6 as that is when all the mummy turtles start to appear on the beach to do there thing.

We have done a lot of things this holiday and had some chill out days but Al reckons, and I agree, this has been the most relaxing day yet and we have yet to meet the mummy and baby turtles. …. Just off to try and photo the sunset.

Sunset pic failed, clouds stopped play. This place is truly a small paradise, the only fly in the ointment came when two young doctors who are also here for the night, sat chatting to us on the beach and said ‘ we were going to go to the southern islands but the Pirates made us think again and come here’

Pirates! Pirates! What bloody pirates!?! (By the time you read this Kee, we are in pirate free Langkowi)

Apparently pirates have been kidnapping local fishermen and demanding a ransom, when it’s not paid, they are beheaded 😳

It has happened far south of here but since I heard, have done a bit of snooping and now know that there are armed guards on constant look out and been chatting to a policeman in plain clothes who is based here for a month before going back to Sandakan who patrols the waters around these islands in a high powered police boat from 6 am onwards.

So….. apart from a few far off pirates, it really is paradis, apart from seeing these tracks on the beach, which led to this (2 metre Monitor Lizard, just sat looking at me before it moved very quickly into the forest.

Had dinner (bang on average) then we were told that one of the Turtle Rangers, not Donatello, the other one, would give us a shout once a mummy turtle was doing her thing. An hour and ten minutes later we were still supping and chatting when Patrick ( of Borneo) hurried in and told us to hurry and follow him and Michael Angelo. We all followed, making sure all flashes were off on phones and cameras.

We were just not prepared to experience something that we may never see again, Mummy Turtle was huge and in a trance like state plopping her eggs into the hole she had excavated over the past hour and a half, the other ranger, Figuero, was carefully removing the eggs into a bucket and 99 eggs later, mummy started burying eggs that were not there. Mummy was checked for tags and it was found that, like us, it was her first time at this beach which made her 15 to 20 years old.

Both flippers were tagged and she was measured and all data recorded. We then went on to watch the eggs being buried in the nursery ( under a bit of shade) and then 74 baby hatchlings legging it to the sea.

It was so humbling, seeing one of these ancient creatures that have been around for a similar time to the dinasaurs, carry out the same routine that it has done for centuries but this time helped by man trying to undue the terrible deeds of previous years.

Up at 6.00am and off to see King Louis’ mates 😀

Sandakan and Turtle Island
Sandakan and Turtle Island
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