After our hike to the Ijen Crater in the morning we made our way to the south coast of Java. Here is a breeding station for sea turtles.
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The bumpy ride to Sukamade
The journey to the turtle breeding station in Sukamade in Meru Betiri National Park took about four hours. The trail passed mangrove forests, coffee and cocoa plantations, rice fields and small villages.
After some time, the path became more and more uneven, bumpy and stony. We were completely shaken all the time and the ride was anything but fun. But now we also knew why we had to take a 4W jeep for this route and could not drive the normal Citycar to Sukamade. Here you can watch a short video of our trip.
Our accommodation in Sukamade
Around 5 p.m. we finally arrived at our inn Wisma Sukamade, where we moved into our room. Electricity is only available here every day from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., there is no hot water at all.
Sea Turtle Nesting Beache
After a delicious local dinner we went by jeep to the turtle breeding station, which is about 20 minutes away from our inn. From the turtle breeding station we walked together with a ranger and our guide to the beach. Here we wanted to watch how the tortoise-females come out of the sea at night, dig a nest, put their eggs in this and dig the nest again. Night after night they come to this beach between 7 pm and midnight.
But first of all it was to wait… Rangers walk down the beach every night looking for turtles, then dig out the discarded eggs and take them to the breeding station. This is important, because the turtles have many natural enemieshere, who are looking for their eggs. After 20 minutes, there was suddenly a sign from another ranger: Turtle sighting! So we went to the place where she was spotted – that was at the other end of the beach: about 2 km away. And then we saw her, a green sea turtlethat crawled along the beach. She was rightly reminded of what an act of strength this is for her. Every few meters she stopped to rest.
Our ranger quickly realized that this turtle probably wants to return to the sea because it has not found a safe place to lay eggs. He had a very good explanation for the turtle’s behavior: “You have to imagine that the turtle was born in number one and just landed in front of number 3. And then she says: this must be wrong, I can’t lay my eggs here, that’s too uncertain.” So she goes back to the sea and will start a new attempt tomorrow. It was a pity that we could dig the nest and not see the egg laying. But overall we observed the turtle for about half an hour until it finally disappeared into the sea again.
Around 11 p.m. we were back in the guesthouse and were able to sleep for 6 hours before the alarm clock rang again.
The breeding ground of baby turtles
The next morning there was something wonderful on the program, which we had been looking forward to beforehand: we were allowed to release 20 baby turtles to freedom! Unfortunately, it started raining that morning. While we waited in the breeding station until the rain stopped, we spent time in the breeding ground and took a close look at the newly hatched turtles. Simply sugar-sweet! Especially when the little ones have fallen over while climbing, lying on their backs, romping wildly and then turning themselves around again, this looks totally cute.
Exposing 20 baby turtles on the beach
Then the rain had finally stopped and it started. The ranger had the little turtles already in a bucket and then we walked together to the beach. On the beach we quickly found a nice place, about 50 meters from the sea. Our ranger gave us some more instructions and showed us how to keep the baby turtles best.
And then we thirst to take the little baby turtles out of the bucket. We couldn’t believe how small and fragile they are and soooo incredibly cute. And then, one by one, we all put them on the sand and released them into freedom.
The little ones have just been diligently crawled towards the sea and carried away with one of the waves. Nice. As great as this moment was, so sad is the fact that only 1 (!) of 1,000 hatched turtles survives. Many fall victim to large fish that are just waiting for them to get into the water. At some point the bucket was empty and we had done our “work” 🙂
Our video of baby turtles in Sukamade
Here is a video that our guide made of us.
A budded nest
Over the beach we went back to the breeding station. Suddenly we found a deep hole in the sand – a budded nest. The rangers had probably overlooked this and a wild boar made its way over the eggs at night. We wanted to know if the whole litter was really excavated. Here you can see very well how deep the schiltoders dig your eggs. And in fact – we found an intact turtle egg and took it with us to the breeding station.
Monkeys in the forest
At the breeding station we also saw a few wet monkeys. After this great experience we went back to the guesthouse, where we had a short breakfast and packed our things together.
Our trip from Java to Bali
Now we had 10 hours drive to the east coast of Bali. First we went four hours to the ferry in Ketapang. The crossing took about an hour, although the distance is not so great. After another six hours by car we finally reached our Hotel Puri Bagus Candidasa Resort late in the evening.
These were really 6 wonderful days on Java and the tour with Java Exotica was absolutely great and went exactly as planned. If someone is on Java, we can definitely recommend this tour and route 🙂