Trip Start Sep 19, 2012
91Trip End Ongoing
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Lang Tengah is a little island situated in the South China Sea about 40 minutes boat road from the Malaysian mainland. It is about 2 km long and about 850 meters wide
After leaving Merang, I was dropped off at Turtle Beach on the island. The beach is about 150 m in length and at low tide about 35 meters wide. From the beach it then changes into thick jungle vegetation. I walked up the beach and followed a path into the forest. There was a small clearing about 15 meters set back amongst the trees. It consisted of 2 tents, a wooden platform, a fire pit and a well for water. It looked as if it had been abandoned as there was rubbish everywhere. There pots and plates crusted with old congealed food scattered around. There was no sign of people anywhere. I set up my little tent as I thought maybe someone would return but no one did. I then spent most of the day cleaning the camp and when it started getting dark made a fire and heated some noodles. I was in my tent just after it got dark and lay there listen to all the strange sounds. Cicadas screeching, geckos barking and most disturbing was the plague of rats that descended into the camp
At first light I was up and after an early morning swim and some coffee brewed on the fire I continued with cleaning the camp. There is a well about 5 m deep where we can get fresh water but it needs to be boiled before drinking. All meals are cooked on the fire, if the wood is not soaked by the rain and the toilet is a short walk away into the jungle with a spade to dig a hole.
The jungle/forest is fairly dense and the heat and humidity is oppressive and energy draining. There is a constant noise from the insects and numerous visitors pass through the camp. These consists of Monitor lizards, squirrels, rats, bats, crabs, centipedes ( up to 15 cm), an assortment of amazing butterflies and I have seen one snake
After 3 days on my own, Nuar finally arrived. He has been here for a few months and I meet him briefly in Kuala Lumpur. He is a Malaysian guy and is about 26 years old. Apparently there were supposed to be 2 guys at the camp who had been employed to clean the well but they had disappeared as they believed that the camp was haunted! Nuar is great guy and we get on well, even though he is a bit lazy and wanders off for hours at a time.
Right. So what do we do here. During the day it is odd jobs around camp like fixing tents, building benches etc, swimming, snorkeling, sleeping and eating. When it cools down we collect fire wood and the snorkel, swim or sleep again. We do a bit of fishing but as this is a Protected marine park we aren't supposed to but we do eat what we catch. At night we monitor the beaches. There are only three sandy beaches on the island and the rest of the shoreline is rocks and cliffs. We monitor any turtle activity on all the beaches and if a turtle lays eggs on one of the other beaches we have to dig up the nest and move the eggs to our little Turtle Beach so we can watch them and prevent poachers from stealing the eggs
We have 2 species that come to the island, the Green turtle and the Hawks-bill. These are amazing animals. The females always return to the beach that they hatched from to lay their eggs. The sad thing is that only about 1 out of every 1000 turtle eggs survives to adulthood. So every one can save from the poachers helps a bit. So far this season one of our nests have hatched and it was amazing to watch over a hundred little turtles scamper into the sea.
I really enjoy living in the jungle in our little camp. Slowly things have started to improve and we have built a little kitchen and now have a gas burner, We have a bench and some hammocks and a shower/ wash area. The rats are still around but since we have cleaned up they are not too bad. However anything left out at night is attacked by the rats, so anything with food or plastic has to be stored away in storage boxes. We collect fresh drinking water from one of the hotels in a couple of 5 liter containers
The two guys who I met on the first night work in the kitchens of the resort. For many years working in hotels and restaurants it was a constant battle to control stock theft. These guys are masters and at least 2 or 3 times a week we are supplied with a fresh whole chicken, or curry, soup and other items from the hotels kitchen. You can't imagine how we enjoy this fresh food.
Hayati, our boss, came out a few weeks ago and brought us some fresh supplies. Nuar and I sat and polished off the fresh fruit. Huge sweet lychees and mangoes. It was a treat to get fresh eggs and flour so we could make pancakes and omelettes. I am getting quite good at making Roti and Naan breads.
Anyway I love my little Turtle Beach and cant believe that it has been nearly 4 weeks since I arrived here. My Malaysian visa expires on the 6th of July so i am going to have to do a border run to Thailand and get this renewed so that I can return and watch my turtles
I am very happy living here and love the jungle and the beach. I don't miss people and believe I could become a Hermit.