Friday, May 15, 2015

Turtle Islands National Park – Selingan

This morning, we catch a speedboat from the Sandakan jetty and make for our destination of Turtle Islands National Park.

Selingan island is about a 1.5hr boat ride away and is a conservation island for the Green turtle and the Hawksbill turtle, who come on shore to lay their eggs.

Arriving at a picturesque tropical beach, an afternoon of lazing around is in order.

The water is sparkling clear and warm. The location is idyllic and the salt water provides relief for our still weary legs.

Visitors stay on the island but are asked to vacate the beach by 6pm.

This is because turtles will come up to shore to lay the eggs each night and the rangers do not want them to be disturbed.

There is also a police presence on the island as we are only 30km away from the territory of the Phillipines.

The police serve as both rangers to detect poachers, as well as border patrol. A stint on the island for a police officer lasts 3 months.

At 6pm, an exhibition room opens above the dining room and tells us a little more about the turtles as well as the coral and other marine life around the island.

At 7pm, a short video details a little more about the local turtles.

The fact of the day is that the sex of the turtle is determined by what temperature the eggs mature in.

A variation in 4.3 degrees can mean the difference between a male or a female turtle hatching.

This curiosity means that the keepers on the sanctuary have to aim for an even distribution of male and female hatchlings.

Some eggs are buried in the shade, while others are in the sun.

After dinner, we have to remain in the dining hall.

Now it’s the waiting game as we must patiently await for the ranger to tell us when a turtle has come ashore and we can view her laying her eggs.

The previous evening, the first turtle arrived at 7pm so we are hopeful it won’t be too late.

The clock rolls past 10pm as we wait.

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