Perhentian Turtles: A Great Experience with Even Greater People

Posted by: Pei Y.

I was lucky enough to spend 2 weeks at this beautiful island on the Island Sea Turtle Conservation program. As a Malaysian, it was extremely rewarding for me to be able to do something meaningful in my country, which also happens to be a tropical paradise! The organization is relatively small, which is perfect because you get the chance to bond with the amazing interns volunteering there. The whole group is composed of people from varying countries, which I loved; however, it was also a little disappointing to see that very few Malaysians are interested in conservation projects like this. If you’re Malaysian and you’re reading this, kudos to you because you’re halfway there! (Now go click the sign up button will ya?)

Enough talking about the people, now let’s talk about the turtles. The turtle experience is truly one of a kind. I saw turtles for the first time at my very first snorkel survey. It was such a wonderful experience watching it swim around and feeding off seagrass. Later in the day, we took pictures of the turtle for photo identification. Throughout the past 2 weeks, I got to see so many turtles while doing our snorkel surveys and snorkel tours. It’s amazing to watch these wonderful creatures swimming about in waters freely in their natural habitat.

I think the best experience for me, was when I encountered my very first nesting turtle. I was so amazed by the mama turtle, seeking different spots until she found the perfect nest. She deposited hundreds of eggs, one by one, and slowly made her way back towards the sea. I was truly mesmerized by the entire process, of mama turtle, of mother nature, and her basic instincts. Imagine having 170 kg of weight on your back and you’ve only got flippers to drag you across the sand??!! I don’t know about you, but I’m sure I could not do that! Hats off to you, turtles!