Baby Green Turtles and Blue Sea Stars

Trip Start Feb 26, 2013
Trip End Apr 15, 2013

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What I did
Proyek Penyu Turtle Hatchery

Flag of Indonesia  , Bali,
Monday, April 8, 2013

So I slept in this morning and didn't do the optional dolphin excursion although the others said it was great.  Instead I woke up around 7 am, showered, went to breakfast where I was joined by Mrs. Evy.  Soon the others arrived from their dolphin trip and ate their breakfast.  I gathered my necessities in my daypack and was at the lobby by 9:45 or so.  I waited until the entire group congregated, with Josephine and Massimo coming just a few minutes after 10 am. 

Our local driver drove us to the Reef Seen Resort in Pemutenan village, North Bali.  Here an Australian man named Chris Brown started Reef Seen Aquatics with several different activities.  We had signed up for the Projek Penyu Turtle Hatchery tour and snorkeling.  We had been hoping to see some turtles hatching but this time of year, the turtles have just started and the hatchery pretty much depends on local people alerting them to where the nests are.  Their team then goes and retrieves the eggs to await the hatching at their site.  We were fortunate, though, that there were two sets of baby turtles, merely months old but not old enough at 3 months to be released into the sea.  In addition to the baby green turtles, we saw a 9 year-old hornbill named Badu, or something like that.  He had been found by some local children when he was turned the wrong way and didn't make it to the water after hatching.  They kept him as a pet for 7 years, but were not able to give him an adequate home so the hatchery negotiated and after awhile were able to bring him to their site.  He has a smallish pool where he can swim around, but because he didn't learn the skills to survive in the sea, the hatchery team is reluctant to release him.  Of the 6 types of turtle in Bali, the hatchery has worked with three:  the green, hornbill, and olive ridgley.  There were no olive ridgleys around at this time.

After sating ourselves with Badu and baby green turtle photos all of us except Malcolm were ready for snorkeling once we got proper fins and masks and snorkels for those of us who didn't bring them.  I managed to get on my fins and mask and waded in,to the water.  It was so nice and warm - I didn't experience the usual shock to my body one bit!!   At first, I was disappointed, even though I hadn't had really high expectations.  The coral seemed brown and dead except for a few bits here and there, but as I went out farther onto the reef, I found wondrous and amazing things!!   There were flattish corals that looked like pedestal cake holders and what looked like some brain coral - or similar shaped coral, as well as lots of other kinds with greens, browns, tans, blues and pinkish-reds.  Ooops, I just heard very loud thunder.  First I saw some 10" white, almost transparent, fish swimming in front of the reef.  Later I saw fish with many variations of black, yellow and white in multiple sizes - some solid black, one kind of small fish with white and yellow and a bold black spot on the sides towards its tail.  Some very pretty striped white fish with yellow and blue - I think.  I did see one 8 or 9 inch angel fish and some longer chunky greyish fish on the bottom trying to dig a shallow hole maybe.  There was certainly enough to make me glad I decided to do the snorkeling. 

I kept having problems with water getting into my snorkel.  Since my Darth Vader episode in Bonaire, I have been scared of breathing in water, so I didn't go far out so that I could swim back and stand on the bottom and empty the snorkel every one in awhile.  On one trip back and forth, I saw a blue sea star lying on a round, stone-shaped coral.  It kind of blended in so I was surprised when I made it out and then when I turned around, I saw another on another coral, but this one seemed brighter and more visible.  They were a very pretty periwinkle blue.  After this sighting, even though I went and removed the water from my snorkel once more, I was pretty much done.  I was so thrilled with the sea stars that I felt my snorkeling was completely fulfilled and I didn't need to see anything more.  It was nice....I would have gone out again if it weren't for the water issue.

Josephine had arranged for the driver to leave us for 2 hours and somehow we had managed to do our activities in much less time.  We relaxed at a table, chatted and got some drinks and food.  I saw a microbrewery organic beer on the menu.  It came in three kinds of ales, a stout, and something else.  My first choice was unavailable but I did get my second - a brown ale maybe.  It was much better than the Bintang - I am not that fond of the Indonesian pilsener.  Josephine shared her apples and oranges.  When we finished our snacking, the driver was there so we head back to the hotel.  Just as we got out of the van, it had started raining.  That must have been some time after 3 pm.  And I think it is still raining.  I went out to take some photos but didn't stay out long because I didn't want to get my camera wet.  I just got a call that the lights and electricity will go out in 15 minutes for a half hour so I got out my flashlight and tried to organize my stuff for when I go out at 7 pm for dinner.

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