What can be better than staying on a beautiful tropical island, and at the same time helping to protect sea turtles through beach patrols and snorkeling sessions? It’s no wonder that this is our most popular volunteering activity. The Perhentian Turtle project has been well-established and is fully integrated with a community project to help the local fishing village transition to sustainable tourism. So, you will be able to interact with a diverse group of people during this amazing volunteering stint.
You will be in a team helping to collect underwater images of individual sea turtles for the project database. Apart from this day job, you will patrol the beaches where turtles are nesting at night, to deter any poachers and collect the eggs for the hatchery, in cooperation with the local Fisheries Department of Terengganu State. You may also be working with the community team who help with the teaching of the local school kids and other activities, such as awareness campaigns and beach cleans. You will meet the villagers, for a traditional Malay meal at their home or during other community activities.
Don’t worry, there will be chill time in your packed schedule, with either mornings or afternoons off.
Monday-Day 1: Arrival at the jetty in Kuala Besu, Terengganu, West Malaysia**
In the morning, all volunteers will gather and meet at the Safe Park Holidays office at the jetty and then proceed for the boat transfer to the smaller Perhentian Island, Pulau Perhentian kecil. In the afternoon, you will be briefed on the project, with an overview, code of conduct and a water confidence session. There will be a joint dinner in the evening and a presentation on the marine life in the islands.
* for a one week cycle, but you can stay for as many weeks as you like
** This itinerary starts from Kuala Besut, but we can assist with adding transfers from other Malaysian destinations such as Kuala Lumpur or Kota Kinabalu.
Tuesday- Day 2: Education session
Morning: You will learn about the sea turtles and their conservation through different presentations, and each group member will be tasked with doing their own presentation to share with the group.
Afternoon: get an understanding about the the sea turtle ID research and have a trial snorkeling session to take snaps of the turtles that usually hang out in the nearby sea grass beds in the bay.
Evening: There will be a turtle watch and night patrol, based on a 3 shift system (one team on duty, the other two off)
Wednesday to Saturday -Day 3 to 6: Project work
You will start your volunteering work in earnest, with either a morning or afternoon session of Snorkel Photo ID and the rest of the day time off torelax on the beach or doing your own activities, like jungle walk or lazing in your hammock with a book. For the evenings, you will follow the rotation for the night patrols ( one night on duty, two night off)
Sunday- Day 7: Departure
There are boats leaving for the mainland at 8am, 12 noon and 4pm. From Kuala Besut, you can travel overland or catch an internal flight from Kota Baru airport, which is in the next state of Kelantan.