A Travellerspoint blog

Pulau Talang-Talang Kecil, Sarawak

A National Park for turtle Conservation

Pulau Talang Kecil and Pulau Talang-Talang Besar in Sarawak are the National Parks devoted to marine turtle conservation especially the greenback turtles. Included in the National Park is the four islands, that is, Pulau Satang Besar, Pulau Satang Kecil, Pulau Talang-Talang Besar and Pulau Talang-Talang Kecil. Thus, it is better known as Talang-Satang National Park under the jurisdiction of the State Government. A permit for entry has to be obtained from the Forestry Department before entry is allowed as they are restricted area. Beside that, all forms of fishing are banned.

The day is bright already, she's not happy with the pit. Sept 2003

The day is bright already, she's not happy with the pit. Sept 2003

A volunteer taking measurement of the greenback turtle. Sept 2003

A volunteer taking measurement of the greenback turtle. Sept 2003

Digging the unhatched turtle eggs at Pulau Talan-Talang Kecil National  Park, Sarawak

Digging the unhatched turtle eggs at Pulau Talan-Talang Kecil National Park, Sarawak

Mountain os rotten turtle eggs. Sept 2003

Mountain os rotten turtle eggs. Sept 2003

Volunteers are busy digging the unhatched eggs

Volunteers are busy digging the unhatched eggs

One of my fond memories of living in Kuching was the opportunity given to me to get up-close and personal with the turtles. Being a member of Malaysian Nature Society, I was able to join their activities, one of which is volunteering in turtle conservation work in Pulau Talang-Talang Kecil. A handful of photos brought me back to the sweet encounter with these gentle creature. Though it was a short 2 days work, it has given me such pleasure, understanding and love for these sea turtles.

The beaches were clean and white, undulating and undisturbed by human's hands. The greenback turtles chose these islands to lay eggs and they came ashore at night looking for comfortable pits to lay their eggs. Many laboriously dug the sand but later changed their minds and went looking for another spots. A few couldn't find a pit that they liked until morning and had to go back to the sea in the hope they could find good ones of their choice in the same island or another island next night. I kept watched of their behaviour right through the night. Those who were able to lay eggs, flipped sands around them to cover their precious eggs but the volunteers had already marked the spot with a stick. We left the creature alone but vigil in case of any marauders. A few of us were given task to take and record the measurements of these turtles who lay eggs. For those who slept through the night, missed this excitement. Cameras with flash were forbidden when the turtles laying eggs. At least, we showed some respect for their privacy.
I salute the workers for their dedication, leaving their families for weeks on the mainland while they keep vigil of the turtles who come to lay eggs. Many of the eggs failed to hatch and few baby turtles succeeded in getting to the sea. But how many would survive till they matured we do not know. It was hard work digging the unhatched eggs in the sands. They leave a nasty stench and we had to do this under the scorching hot sun. But the evening was cool and clear with glittering stars above.
Through trial and error, I managed to learn how to upload photos, though deleting is still a mystery to me. I'll get it one day.

Posted by zuraidaharahman 05:02 Comments (0)

Visiting Nepal 1

Katmandu and Mount Everest

With Izan of DHIA Holidays leading her inaugural group to Nepal, I joined her group with 6 other senior ladies, from 11 to 16 October 2012. I looked forward to this trip, especially to go to mountain flight to see Mount Everest. There were a lot of Nepalese working in Malaysia and Nepal has been an attraction to me for its history and natural beauty, including the magnificent Himalayan mountain range. The flight from KLIA to Katmandu took about 4 and a half hours with Malaysian Airline. The plane was fully booked with returning Nepalese and tourists.
We landed at Katmandu airport, welcomed and garlanded by the host travel company represented by Anisha, a pretty Nepalese travel agent. We were taken immediately to Soultee Crowne Plaza Hotel, a beautiful hotel just outskirt of town. Then the small tourist bus took us to dinner at a Halal restaurant, Anatolia, in town. The food was so good especially the nan, chapati and the vegetable masala, much more delicious than what I had in PJ and KL. The walk towards the restaurant was arrested many times by the many attractive display of colourful goods in the shops. Many of the shopkeepers were delighted when we told them we are from Malaysia. They greeted us with 'Apa khabar' , 'Malaysia, Truly Asia' and some Malay words. Many of them have been to Malaysia to work and when they have saved enough, they came back to open their own shops.
Just arriv in Katmandu

Just arriv in Katmandu

The street was narrow, filled with cars, trishaws and pedestrians but everybody seemed patient with no show of temper when they had to slow down.
The day became dark at 6 pm. When we finished dinner, it was quite dark but shops were opened till midnight. We couldn't help ourselves but stopped many times to buy things that we fancied. Unfortunately, it was becoming such bad habit with the two older ladies. When we were ready to go and waiting in the bus they made us wait for an hour. Tired and sleepy, we grumbled and were angry at this thoughtless behaviour. When they came to the bus finally, not even an apology and I told them directly not to repeat this as we were so tired and they should be on time. I felt so disgusted as in the whole trip, these two were regularly late every day and every time in spite of repeated reminder by Izan. The fun was ruined by their irresponsible behaviour. Title, age, being white and being the only Indian seemed to make them feel they were special. Hence, I ignored them throughout the trip and Izan vowed she would never take them again.
I went to sleep as soon as I hit the bed because tomorrow I have to get up early for subuh prayer at 4.51 am and then wait at the lobbhy at 5.40am to go to the domestic airport for Everest mountain flight. Only 3 of us booked this flight, the two habitual late members and I. It cost US 155 per flight, from the original price of US185. Badri Nepal, our guide managed to get us discounted tickets.
The mountain flights were normally erratic due to unpredictable weather. Our flight on Buddha Line was scheduled at 6.30 am but by that time the mist was still thick and our flight was postponed until the mist was cleared. By 7.30 am we were transported by bus to the plane but it still couldn't take off. The stewardesses couldn't give us exactly when it would take off and a German lady was angry at the delay, refusing to understand the weather condition. It's for the safety of all passengers. The domestic airport was packed with tourists waiting for different flights to see the Everest. I just couldn't understand why the other 5 ladies refused to come along. Aren't they curious to see Mount Everest and the Himalayan mountain range at a close range? I suppose shopping was their priority.
At 8.40 am the tower cleared the flight and we took off. I met a young Malay guy, Umar, in the flight. He came to Katmandu for some work and returning to Malaysia the same day. He took the opportunity to see Everest in the morning. The flight was smooth. Everybody has a window seat and were ready with camera and videos. My goodness, I do not know how to describe the sight of Everest and the Himalayas. They are just majestic and I was in awe. I was humbled by the sight which I know I might not be able to see it again. The tip of Everest simmered with a kind of aura due to sunlight. The snow capped Himalayan mountains looked so intimidating with deep valleys and creases but they are hauntingly beautiful. The plane circle the eastern and western side of Himalayas giving us magnificent views of the mountain. I salute in deep respect those who scaled the Everest. I just wish I am a good photographer who can record these beautiful sights forever. It took one and a half hour flight and passengers were allowed to go into the cockpit to see the view in better range. I was at peace with myself, thanking Allah for his mercy and blessing allowing me to see his unsurpassed creations.
Since it was a late take off, we came back to the hotel almost at lunch time, holding up the group for a long road drive to Pokhara. I apologized for the delay but no apology at all from the two said ladies. We left for Pokhara for 6 hours road trip for 200 km distance.
I find writing this blog is quite a chore for me. I struggled to find my way, to upload photos and to have attractive design but failed to do it. I guess I'll go back to my old mixed blog at zuraidaharahman.blogspot.com which I am more familiar.

Posted by zuraidaharahman 04:35 Comments (0)

Tasek Bera, Pahang

A Ramsar site

As a nature lover, Tasek Bera to me is bewitching. It's different from the usual concept of lakes - open water with beautiful lakeside scenery. Tasek (means 'lake') Bera is punctuated with pockets of pandanus plants growing wild. It's the largest freshwater wetland in the Malay peninsular, measuring 35 kilometers long and 20 kilometers wide. The lake water flows down into the Pahang river, the biggest river in Malaysia. The lake is rich in wildlife and vegetation. The aborigines people of Semelai tribe (formerly shifting cultivators) depended on the lake for their livelihood, though now they are leading sedentary lifestyle by working on plots of land granted by the government to plant rubber trees. Tasek Bera was included in Ramsar Convention Treaty signed in Ramsar, Iran in 1971, to preserve wetlands of international important.
It has a kind of mystery there with such serenity and calmness that make you wonder what's hidden beneath those islands of green pandanus plants or rasau whose leaves are weaved into intricate baskets, small mats, bags etc by the Semelai people. The calmness of the water is sometimes disturbed by passing motorboats occupied by fishing enthusiasts, tourists or locals.
Tasek Bera is a destination for freshwater fishing with arowana fish as a protected specie. On a plate in a Chinese restaurant, arowana fish can cost to hundreds of ringgit and it will disappear some day soon if no strict enforcement is implemented. Below the jetty at the restaurant, is teaming with ikan seluang, the habitat of small fish near the shore. With left over bread, it's exciting to see school of this fish swimming towards the food.
I was accompanied by my ex-sister-in-law from Adelaide, Kathy, when she came down to celebrate Aidilfitri with us. We still consider her as a member of our family though she and my brother have built their own separate lives. We received many unsupportable comments when we decided to go there. Questions like ' Why do you want to go to a God forsaken place in a jungle?', 'There is nothing there to see', 'It's not a nice place to be. ' etc etc etc. We just disregarded these comments as we know they were mostly based on own judgmental attitude and some have never been there. Arriving at Tasek Bera Resort was such a pleasant surprise. We were so excited to see the stunning scenery of the lake with islands of pandanus plants. The atmosphere was so serene, quiet and tranquil. For some time we just sat quietly at the restaurant facing the lake, taking in the spectacular view of the lake. It's definitely different and I have never seen one like this. Both of us were thankful that we made this trip regardless of what was being said. Beauty is really in the eyes of the beholder!
We checked at the only chalet there facing the lake for RM140.00 per night. It's a small resort and advanced booking is necessary. I had quite a tough time to get the contact number as the telephone numbers in the website were obsolete. I managed to get En. Aziz, the contact person through Bukit Fraser's Tourist Board. Call +6013 6231199 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              +6013 6231199      end_of_the_skype_highlighting or +6014 8447070 for reservation. We went there during low season and were the only guests there.
Since I live in Port Dickson, we started our journey from there driving towards Kuala Pilah and to Bahau. The road is not complicated and the signage is clear. Follow the sign to Kuantan and you will pass Jempul. Further on, there will be a big signage to Tasek Bera. When in doubt, ask people, they are friendly. At the entrance of the administrative complex, you have to stop and register. Then drive on along secondary jungle to find the Ramsar Education Centre and a few yards away is the Resort. We were told at night, sometimes wild elephants can be seen crossing the road as well as many other animals of the jungle. If you are from Kuala Lumpur, exit at Temerloh, then there will be signage to Tasek Bera. You will not get lost. It should take about 3 hours to reach there at leisurely drive but I took longer because we stopped to buy petai, drinks, food and for toilet.

We were quite unhappy to see rubbish thrown by irresponsible visitors at this beautiful place. We spent one or two hours picking the many plastic bottles and other rubbish found around the Resort and at the shore of the lake. It's such a sorry state to see how unappreciative and selfish some visitors are who are mostly Malaysians.

On the whole it was a DSCF0007.jpgThe Rasuk/Pandanus plants

The Rasuk/Pandanus plants

The jetty from the lake

The jetty from the lake

Map to Tasek Bera

Map to Tasek Bera

fantastic get-away and definitely I will go there again especially when my foreign friends come to visit.

Posted by zuraidaharahman 21:14 Comments (0)

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