Indonesia 2012 Part 4 - Night trek in Bukit Lawang looking for softshelled turtles
Thur 28th June 2012
Spent three nights in Singapore and back in
Medan today. Had to go and come back for another 30 day visa. It is
expensive there, about the same as England. The only reason I mention
it, and something that interested me, is that it used to be lush
rainforest, a long time ago, but Singapore got built over it. They have
kept a lot of trees, unlike some places where the trees vanish
Returned to Banda Aceh to collect my luggage and say goodbye to BPKEL staff.
Wed 18th July 2012
to Kuala Simpang with Joko Guntoro. We started early boarding a cool
mini-bus. Three hours later after passing though endless palm oil
plantations we arrive back in Aceh and swap transport to drive to the
police station to get a permit, well, a permit basically for me. Being a
non-tourist area, and me being here on a tourist visa means paperwork.
Luckily my previous BPKEL permission to travel permit helps matters.
then goto a fishing village Seruway which has a very Dutch feel for
some reason. The group is made up of some of the staff of SatuCita
Foundation, supriydai (staff of forestry office), parmin (local
journalist/public relation), Ambar Wangi, datuk laksamana (community
leader), me, syafril and Joko.
We board a fishing boat and head
down the river to the sea. I notice straight away an abundance of life
on the river banks. As we arrive at the sea I see a flying fish for the
first time in my life. The noisy engine bangs away as we forge out to to
sea and then dog leg to an island. This is a sandy island where turtles
lay eggs. Which, unfortunately is becoming a little of a tourist
destination for the beach, not the wildlife.
We then board the
boat and follow the river to the main area for the painted terrapin. I
am so taken with the amount of wildlife to see, much more than the river
trip to Suaq. Some of the creatures I had only ever dreamed of seeing.
Soon our boat starts to ground on the mud and we have to turn about. We
return to the village, the tide is out and presently we all have to get
out of the boat and waid ashore as it grounds in the mud.
clean our muddy feet at the fishermans house we drive to the SatuCita
Foundation's headstart facility. Joko shows me the concrete breeding
pens and two Malayan box turtles (Cuora amboinensis). Unfortunately it
is dark and raining now which makes photos hard. The facility looks
impressive even in the dark and rain and I see this is an exciting
Fri 20th to Mon 23rd July 2012
I visited Bukit
Lawang which is a popular place to do a jungle trek. It is a bit like
Goa with market stalls and restaurants with the possible jungle trek. A
river threads through the town. From the town you walk down the river
and would not know of the massive palm oil plantations that butt up to
the Gunung Leuser National Park. The journey from Medan was a 3 hour bus
ride through the endless palm oil owned by massive corporations.
join Joko for a jungle trek and night. We unfortunately do not find any
turtles or tortoises. The guide found two the day before. At the end of
the trek we arrive at his house to see them, before releasing them back
into the wild.
On the last day here we take one more look for Kura-Kura in the waterfalls along the river. No luck.
see great potential for the projects in India and Indonesia and am
encoraged by the progress and awareness. Hopfully they will bare fruit
and can save, for example, Burmese Brown tortoises before China eats
For myself I am not sure yet where I go from here, am planning and researching at this time.
All pictures here: https://picasaweb.google.com/jtuijl