I can’t believe it’s already my last day on the island! Four weeks on Tioman have gone by so fast! There’s no way I’ll be able to sum up all of the unforgettable adventures I’ve had in one blog entry. There’s too much to tell! I guess I’ll start by trying to describe the beautiful landscape here. There’s the mountainous jungle terrain (which we trekked through on our way to Juara, a village on the other side of the island) and of course the clear waters and white sand beaches (which is only steps away from my room!). But don’t think that this trip has just been sunbathing on the beach; I’ve never spent so much time swimming in the ocean learning my fish and benthic invertebrates to help with PIT and fish belt surveys. I’ve learned so much more about the marine environment. The diversity of marine animals here is amazing (I saw two sharks and a Moorish idol the other day!) The Chula Naga (our boat) basically became my second home! Although I didn’t get a chance to carry out many underwater surveys, Anna and I contributed by making a “Responsible Snorkeling Video” (check it out on Youtube!: ).
Along with all of my time spent in the water, I’ve spent a comparable amount on land. I’ve been able to experience Malay culture, from learning the language (Selamat petang!), to staying with a Malay family, to learning how to cook cekodok, deep fried banana balls (the most delicious and addicting snack you will ever eat!). In addition, I’ve also been able to witness turtle hatchlings getting released into the ocean, new friends teaching me how to play the guitar and scuba diving for the first time.
I’m going to miss the slow pace of island life. Tioman is a very special place that needs protecting and I’m glad I’ve been able to get involved with Blue Ventures and make a difference. I can’t wait to share my stories about the amazing people I’ve met, lasting friendships I’ve made and awesome adventures I’ve had with everyone back home. I’m looking forward to returning home to California’s sunny beaches, but it definitely can’t compare to the warm, clear waters of Tioman.