“Turtle time!”, loudly called out by one of my newfound friends signified the beginning of either a morning or afternoon shift at the ‘turtle camp’ in Nusa Penida, Indonesia. This was exciting because it meant we would grab our water bottles, pop on our flip flops, and walk across the road from our accommodation to the turtle conservation project. There we would get to hang out with our super cute new friends, the Hawksbill Turtles!
Life at the turtle project was fun by virtue of the fact that twice a day each day we got to hang out with sea turtles. By hang out, I obviously mean ‘work’, as we were on shift; but it certainly didn’t feel like work. Another fun thing was getting to know the other volunteers! Coming from all over the world, it was just as common to hear Finnish being spoken as it was Mandarin; Aussie slang mixing with French exclamations, Swedes making plans to visit new found friends in the USA.
Of course, not all the time at turtle camp is consumed by volunteering. Scheduled activities included a trip to Crystal Bay, a beautiful paradise for swimming and sunbathing; as well as an awesome beach bonfire complete with a beautiful sunset as well as our local coordinators showing off their guitar playing and singing skills. On our day off, a bunch of us sat on the rickety back of a utility vehicle and drove around the island. Seriously, I don’t know why some of these spots aren’t more well-known! You’re unlikely to see a more beautiful vista than the view over Kelingking Beach (and unlikely to undertake a more treacherous climb, down to the aforementioned beach!)
Our time at turtle camp was capped off by releasing two of ‘our’ turtles into the sea to begin their journey as independent turtles! Hopefully, the love and care provided at the turtle project will ensure these turtles have a greater chance of survival in the big, wide, scary ocean. Go well, little turtle!