Being involved as a volunteer in turtle conservation has been a part of my life since 2003. As a volunteer, turtle conservation work is pretty simple and straightforward… All it needs is a lot of passion and interest. On one hand, it still needs effort but at the same time, it is meaningful and most importantly, I like sweating it out and not really having to use my brains that much which is a really refreshing change from working in the office. It’s really different from the normal routine of going to the office and sitting in front of the computer and way better than attending meetings. And it’s really effective in helping you lose weight as well…
Ever since my first time on Chagar Hutang, I have never been able to get it out of my mind resulting in a further 4 trips (in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008) throughout the years. Even when I couldn’t go, every year in February I would automatically start checking the registration page to see how fast it fills up and as well, trying to convince my friends to go.
So why do I like it so much? Well… I think one has to like the outdoors to a certain extent… Mind you… I’m not that big on camping and the great outdoors but somehow, the serenity of Chagar Hutang… Well… It has captivated me and made me want to come back for more. The fresh sea air, the sounds of waves rushing up the shore… And My GOD!! No handphone reception!! That really is a Godsend!!
Ultimately, every time I go, I would be greeted with nature at its best and every time I go, on the first night, there is nothing that can compare (at least not yet) to the sight of watching a real live turtle crawling up the beach to deposit its eggs.
Over the years, I have also made a lot of friends on these trips… Some whom I have come to call my very good friends as well. One even taught me how to recycle.
As well, Chagar Hutang is pretty much our own private 350m long beach. No tourists… No blaring music… Only fellow volunteers shouting “FIRE ANTS!!! FIRE ANTS!!!” or… In 2 separate incidents… “THE BOAT IS SINKING!!!!” Well.. Prof. Chan probably wouldn’t find this the least bit funny… Well… Neither did I at that point in time but thinking back… Those were amazing memories.
One other reason is I am also into wildlife and have always dreamed of being on an Orca or perhaps a humpback whale watching/conservation trip. However, these tend to be very costly. Turtle conservation on the other hand is way cheaper than Orca, Rhino or Tiger conservation.
And last but not least, genuine kampung (village in Malay), fishermen’s cooking…
One hope that I have is that I’ll be around in 15 years’ time and when I return, some of the new turtles crawling up the beach to nest for the first time will be one that I have watched hatch and crawl from their nests to the sea back in 2003.
This post is written by Lim Puay Aun, our long-time supporter since 2003. Check out Lim’s photo gallery here.