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The Turtle Trip

Posted on 13 August 2007

This year, 2006, the WWF South Pacific Programme is starting a big turtle campaign. Therefore good photo material is very important. Then the great news: turtle activity has been spotted on the Mamanuca Islands, a small group of islands in front of Nadi.
WWF SPP is starting a big turtle campaign this year. Therefore good photo material is very important. Then the fantastic news: turtle activity on the Mamanuca Islands, a small group of islands in front of Nadi. After making contact to Freddy from the Mamanuca Environmental Society (MES) and finding out, on which islands turtles have been seen I started organizing my last field trip. First I had to make sure, that the funding of this trip is provided by the Internship Programme. Than I had to calculate the costs of the journey and fill in an advance payments form. After getting the money and confirming all the details with the involved islands I started my trip. I was a little bit proud, having organized almost everything on my own. In the beginning everything was very confusing and I was glad the WWF Team organized my first field trips so well. Now I found myself alone on my way to the turtles.

Nadi and Namotu Island

In Nadi I met Freddy to discuss the details of the trip. We decided to take a tent with us to be able to camp at the beach and wait for some nesting turtles. The next day we took a taxi and an open boat to get to an island called Namotu, of course it was raining heavily and we arrived soaked. This island is a popular surfing camp that is booked out for 4 years in advance. We stayed the day and talked to the owner Scott and with the guests. They have witnessed a turtle laying eggs two days before. I was able to collect very good photos from the guests and the photographer of the island that WWF can use for the turtle campaign for free. After lots of questions about turtles, their behaviour and their role in the pacific one of the guests invited me to stay the night in their Bure (typical Fijian House) to observe the beach. I took the nice offer but Freddy had to leave. I spend the day walking around the island, watching the nesting site and went for snorkelling with some of the guests. This was amazing! The reef was beautiful. I saw lots of colourful fish and even a white and a black tip shark! After this experience and a lovely dinner I spend the whole night walking with my torch around the small island, seeing a lot of crabs, shells and a sea cucumber. But unfortunately there were no turtles this night.

Treasure Island

The next day I left early with an open boat to the next big island to catch the ferry to Denerau Harbour on the mainland to meet Freddy. Than we took the ferry to Treasure island, a nice island in the Mamanucas with a resort. After having Lunch with the manager we went to see some turtle hatchlings that live in a nursery on this island. Finally I was able to see some of these fascinating creatures and I am more than sure that these animals have to be protected.

After taking some photos and some water samples with Freddy, we left the island to go back to Viti Levu. This was a great experience at the end of my internship!