Sunday, June 9, 2019

Boat Trip to North of Raja Ampat

I visited Yenbekaki village of Raja Ampat last week. It was located in north-east region of Waigeo island. I went there with Rani and two villagers by a small wooden boat powered by two 15 HP outboard engines. We went there to see turtle conservation innitiatives at Warebar beach.
At Pasir Timbul (sandbar) of Raja Ampat
The weather was very nice. We made several stops along the way. First, at the Pasir Timbul (meaning: sandbar), Second: at Yenandau beach, Third: Warebar Beach, and Finally: Arrived at the beach of Yenbekaki. Although the weather was very hot, we really enjoyed the view, the fresh air and the crystal clear blue sea of Raja Ampat.
When we stopped at Yenandau beach, it was around 14.00. Rani took out cake for our lunch. There were also two packages of lunch wrapped in paper. The ingredients were rice, fried fish and some vegetables. Sitting at a big stone by the beach, we had our lunch. Yusuf, one of the villagers whom picked some green leaves which we used as our "plates." The sea was calm and the sun was brightly shining from above. It was a very beautiful beach. Minutes after lunch, we left the beach for Warebar beach.
Yenandau beach in Waigeo island of Raja Ampat
Children were playing at the beach when we arrived. They were happy to see us. When our boat landed on the beach, they welcomed us and helped us pushing the boat to the land. There was a small house at the beach which was used by villagers as a post for their Turtle Conservation Works. There are three rooms in it. There was a big table in front of the house facing the beach.
Children were helping us push the boat when we landed at Warebar beach
The sand was black. It was the location of turtle conservation works conducted by Yusup and his friends from Yenbekaki village. There were two plastic containers with with baby turtles in them. They planned to release them at night. We also checked the relocated nests. Eggs of the turtles were given labels about the species and time when their mothers landed on the beach to lay them. In the relocated nests, special net was installed to protect the eggs from predators such as soa-soa lizard, and dogs.
Relicated nests of Olive-ridley turtles and hawksbill turtles in Raja Ampat
Relocated and Protected Turtle Nests in Raja Ampat
We continued our boat trip to Yenbekaki village. The waves at the beach were quite big. We had to wait for the right moment to leave it. Still, one of us fell back into the bottom of the boat when a big wave hit us from the front. Everything back to normal again when we had reach deeper water. In around five minutes we landed at Yenbekaki village. Here, the sand had a cream whitish look. We brought our bags into Yusup's house and took a rest at the bench across from his house. Sweet hot coffee was brought to us. We drank the coffee and then decided to do a short walking tour around the village. The village was quite big. The houses were neatly arranged, some were decorated with flower plants or motif paintings. At the beach, we saw some people were building a wooden boat. They were happy to see us. Some children were playing at the beach.
We also had a long beach walk to see the beautiful scenery of Yenbekaki village. At night I and some villagers left the village for the Turtle Conservation Post by small motorized boat. At was only a short trip but we had to be very careful when entering the beach. The waves were big. We decided to enter it through Warebar river. The villager at the front of the boat used torch to find the entrance of the river.With the push from a big wave, we entered the river and slowly turned left to a big pool. We landed near the relocated nests. We still needed to walk for a few minutes to the post. I did not want to wait for long to see the release of the turtle. When everybody has arrived at the post, I asked them if it was ok to see them releasing the baby turtles. They said yes. 
Release of Baby Turtles at Warebar beach of Raja Ampat
Two big containers with baby turtles in them were released. Villagers released the turtles at night to prevent predators from attacking them. We still did night patrol to see whether there were mother turtles that landed on the beach to lay eggs but we did not see any. Back to the post, at the table in front of it, I enjoyed having good conversation with the villagers and a university student who was doing researches on turtles.

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