Chagar Hutang - 6 days of wonder

It was the Raya holidays that we were finally able to make some time for stuff other than medical books and how lucky that we planned ahead for it via Meng Hsien(otherwise we wouldn't be able to get a place in it).

Thanks to him, this "very much anticipated event of year" turned out to be one of the most marvelous experience that i ever had. We were so excited about it that some of us were us sort of counting down the day we were gonna board the Fire Flyz ! Well, I'm one of those who did. Lols.

It was definitely breathtaking the moment we stepped on the island. Prof Chan who was still having jet lag when she briefed us in UMT couldn't us, so Adie and Mann has to control these 8 monkey heads. Adie was friendly while Mann was ice-cool; quite an opposite to one another yet worked so well together.

The first night on the beach was really an eye-opener. We witnessed 2 green turtles laying eyes, at the same time. Thus, other than the landing part, we did manage to observe the whole process of egg laying- from body pitting, egg chamber , egg laying and sand bathing etc. And yes, while too obsessed looking and having a feel of it while it was sand bathing, I did not notice and got a minor scratch at the ankle from it's front flippers. Mind you, it is sharp! First time observing a real turtle + laying eggs + being hit by one.

The other great bout being there was that we were allowed to snorkel as much as we wanted to, so long it was before three and after we finished our tasks of course. Thus, being a water loving guy, this opportunity is priceless. To not only observe the nature, we were IN the nature, which was really really great.

Prof Chan joined us 2 days later and the moment she reached there, she got straight to work- saving the turtles. There were 2 injured ones, one of it had its anal sphincter bitten off thus being constipated. The other, to our delight, it was ready to be released into the wild sea. James and Prof manually removed the impacted faeces from the turtle and it did look better after a few procedures.

One of the duties assigned to us were beach patrolling and once, when it was my call to patrol with sock cai, we had the shock of our lives when discovered 3 nests that were attacked by fire ants. So, we were running to and fro, like amok, screaming," ants! ants". It was a wonderful thing to hear when prof said that it was lucky we discovered the 1st nest early cos the attack was still at it's initial stage that a lot were managed to be saved. We had to dig out the eggs and relocate them to a new nest. The last one that i dug with Meng Hsien was the most unbelievable one. There were so many and so deep that we both ended up making a body pit out of it. It was satisfying after the whole process though.

It was not all work and no play. They have arranged special events for us and one funny experience they gave me was the visit to the prawn spa. It was something like those fish spa that you see in the malls where you have your legs nibbled. We were screaming all the time there and i felt that yin's screaming did manage to scare away some prawns from her that finally ended up on my feet. The other time was spent hanging out at the kitchen playing cards and block games with the other workers there, Harry and Gary. They were great guys looked more mature than us but in fact younger than us. Wilson is definitely the joker without himself realizing it. He liked to tease everyone else that every just wanna attack him in the end. Well, Elaine, his gal just kept quiet.

The meals there somehow were great! We did bring some junk food.Adie were in doubt whether we were able to finish so much but we ended up finishing 3/4 of them on the 3rd day itself. Adie gave us a wide grin displaying his white polished teeth and shook his head in disbelief. Ciang Sang was our main chef with his assistants occasionally james, yin and cai , managed to cook up a storm with the raw materials they provided. All of us enjoyed his pancakes so much that we had salty pancakes, sweet pancakes and even banana pancakes. One of the meal that i enjoy the most was the Hari Raya meal. After Mann, Harry and Gary returned from their home, they brought along a huge amount of food, great food. Cai had so many helpings with the ketupat and nasi impit; he beat all the guys. Well done.

Night times were also the time when some marvels happened.Just to mention a few, we released baby turtles into the wild sea, saw shooting stars and celebrated Meng Hsien's birthday with a banana cake spread with chili boh. Looking at the tiny little turtles venturing into the wild sea and the shooting stars was really breathtaking.Erm...not so with seeing hsien eating the cake though..

Beach volleyball has been something i've never tried before and being to play it was so cool as I've no luck with ball games at all. So, other than eating and lazying around, some of the time, after it was less hot, I'll call around others to get in the game. Wilson was good enough to entertain me when no others would.haha. Gary and Harry were great help as well, they tried to teach me how to play at one time. Probably I'm too dumb , i couldn't do it really really well( Or probably it was near dinner time, and i wanted to savor the raya meal, that i gave up,lols)

The other one cool thing that i did was being given the privilege to observe the turtle after it was released. Initially all of us went into the sea and observed it with the harness on. It swam around and around until Prof Chan finally decided that it was time to let her go freely. We went to other area to let her in,and Prof asked who wanna go into the sea and look at it without the harness. Only one person was allowed and I took the chance! Initially it swam deep down and just then around the area. You could feel its cheerfulness upon gaining its freedom.

All in all, it was well spent 6 days and I'm missing it already. I've attached a funny video clip Ciang Sang made,

Saturday, October 18, 2008