Saturday, 24 May 2014

Turtle Week: Day One

Yesterday saw the opening ceremony of the first ever Turtle Week at the Mabul Beach Resort. In March of this year we held our first ever Shark Week and its huge success inspired us to hold a week of activities dedicated to protecting Turtles and raising awareness of the troubles that they are facing. The week will be filled with presentations, beach and reef cleans, and getting the local children from both Mabul Island and Semporna involved in a plethora of educational activities.  We will be keeping you updated on everything we have been getting up to, and how we are getting on in reaching our fund-raising goal of 7000RM!

We kicked things off yesterday afternoon with our opening ceremony. Rohan, our Environmental Project Manager and Manager of the Mabul Beach Resort, opened with a speech giving guests an idea of what the week represents and what it is we are trying to achieve. The opening ceremony also served to inform guests of the various activities we have on this week, with presentations from guest speakers, beach and reef cleans, quizzes as well as a number of treasure hunts and arts and crafts sessions with the local schools. We aim to raise awareness of the very real trouble and declining populations that turtles are facing. Turtles are currently facing threats from costal development, poaching and ingestion of plastic. Scuba Junkie has been working hard to approach these issues affecting Turtles and aid in developing solutions to what is happening. The resort has been abuzz with excitement about all the activities we’ll be undertaking - our staff and interns having been looking forward to this week for a long time! Scuba Junkie has worked long hours organising the week, contacting people to give presentations and designing posters and facts sheets to be posted around the resort. 

The Opening Ceremony


The resort itself has been transformed into a shrine for turtles. Installations cover our walls containing detailed fact sheets concerning turtle biology and conservation information, pieces of turtle trivia adorn every corner of the resort (even the toilets provide some interesting tidbits!) and various arts and crafts works, aided as ever by our enthusiastic staff, interns and guests.

Rohan's Turtle Presentation
In the evening we had a presentation given by Rohan, detailing how we can distinguish between the different species of turtles. He spoke passionately about the evolution of turtles, which have been around for more than 200 million years, from species such as the Archelon, a mammoth turtle that reached 5 metres from snout to tail, to the 7 species of sea turtle that we encounter today. He also provided a fascinating introduction to turtle biology and reproduction, in addition to the threats facing turtles worldwide. Bringing things closer to home, the presentation then focused specifically on the turtles we encounter diving and snorkelling in Borneo and the ways in which Scuba Junkie promote protection of turtles. Responsible dive practices and reef and beach cleans are vital in protecting these species, and we hope that our Mabul Turtle Hatchery program will continue to be beneficial to turtle populations in this area.

The evening culminated in a prize for our ‘Guess the Amount of Turtles’ competition, which resulted in one lucky guest winning a Mabul Turtle Hatchery t-shirt for being closest to the 111 turtles we saw diving yesterday around Mabul and Semporna.
Congratulations Roisin!!

The activities were not just confined to Mabul. Instructors and Divemasters headed over to Semporna to involve the local school. They went over with the aim to educate young people on the importance of conservation, to provide them with information on turtle biology and give them information on what they can do to help. They are returning to the school tomorrow to continue their presentations and activities. Everyone had a great time, with everyone keenly looking forward to continuing tomorrow

Roll on day two!! 
Getting everyone involved!

Get your photo taken as a Turtle!

Limited edition T-shirts!

 Facts about Hawksbill Turtles 

  • Young hawksbill turtles are unable to dive deep and spend their early years floating amongst sea plants near the water’s surface.
  • Hawksbill turtles don't reach sexual maturity until 20 - 40 years
  • The female will typically lay up to five clutches of around 100 to 140 eggs in a single breeding season, and then wait a few years before nesting again 
  • They are critically endangered
  • Unusually amongst marine animals, sponges make up the majority of the hawksbill's diet 

No comments:

Post a Comment