Updated: Mar 30, 2019
My name is Hayden and I am one of the volunteer coordinators for 2018. I am doing the first half of the season and am slowly drawing to the end of my time here. I am from the Isle of Wight in the UK (a small island on the south coast of England) Island life really is the same wherever you are in the world: relaxed, calm and occasionally full of tourists. Island life is the best kind of life.
Perhentian is beautiful: full of life, love and turtles! I have been fortunate enough to work with turtles across the world but I had never been in the water with them until Perhentian. We use photo identification at the feeding grounds to identify individuals and every time I get to snorkel survey I can’t quite believe that this is my job. We are able to track the progress of the population and try to estimate how many turtles are around Perhentian waters and what their movements are. It’s such a great experience to lead volunteers on snorkel surveys and share the experience and conservation message with so many people around the world from so many different backgrounds.
We also have a team patrolling our nesting beach (Tiga Ruang) throughout the night, so we get a chance to do a bit of everything. This is one of my favourite places and I love being directly in the field against poachers and protecting future generations of turtles. We patrol from 8pm to 7am, when we find a nesting turtle we take pictures to identify the individual and relocate the eggs into our hatchery. We work directly with the Departments of Fisheries, a great team to work with.
Project life has been really fun and I’ve loved having a family away from family. The team here are really tight and it makes work even better when you’re working with your pals. Malay culture has also been really fun to be a part of and the village have welcome the PTP 2018 team with open arms. I was lucky enough to be here for Raya – a celebration of the end of Ramadan and a chance for the local community to feast together and celebrate as one. We were able to dress in traditional Malay clothes and were invited into local houses to eat with them and their families. We had some amazing food and was so nice to be all together for the day.
I am lucky to have met some amazing people with all sorts of different backgrounds, and I am so thankful to be a part of Perhentian Turtle Project, thanks for having me, can’t wait to see what happens the rest of the season.