The development of the island sent many of the turtles away from their natural habit. The same can be said with most of Bali. Developments ruins the natural breeding grounds for the turtles.
One organisation set up to protect the turtle and to educate the human is TCEC on Serangan island.
The problem we have is that from both east and west coasts of Sanur, Kuta and Seminyak, tours are sold by the minute to 'Turtle Island'.
Any quick google will mention an island once inhabited by turtles, so the visit may just seem genuine. A further search proves it to not be as many forums and blogs all reveal that it is a nightmare.
Sadly, we learnt the hard way that it was awful and, also,that another ten minutes online would have saved us from a terrible experience.
When we got off the boat, we had no idea how to proceed, so our man called over someone to guide us. He talked us through the area.
|Can you see the bars behind us? Simply horrible.|
((We were not smiling, but more in disgusted shock, this was seconds after we had got off the boat.))
There were turtles in an enclosed bay. Their area was caged off at the back and looked so very small.
The man explained to us about the big turtles, saying how they were released every six months or so and new ones were brought in.
Then he showed us smaller pools slightly inland where there were so many turtles grouped together.
|This one is apparently 'resting' but I really couldn't make out any element of peace for the poor thing|
As we walked around, our unwelcome guide continued to babble on about the eggs, the turtles, and most worryingly enough, kept talking about their 'release', which sounded less and less believable the more he continued.
We also saw bats, sleeping soundly until he poked them and woke them 'for our pleasure'.
The macaques they had were sad and lonely. One three month old baby was on his own but when I asked what kind of monkey it was, just to be sure, my response was 'Bali monkey, just like in the forest.'
The ignorance of this particular hawker, scammer, horrid being was atrocious.
As we left, we passed a box for donations. It actually said that it was for the animals, animals who live on things in the sea or growing on trees.
It makes me sick that these things exist, that we fell for it and that it continues to exist.
The black market is still very prominent in Bali as some other parts of Indonesia, yet the lack of awareness makes us all somehow be part of it.
I add this to the many blogs, forum posts out there and hope that we can help these poor creatures.
Do not go to turtle island, not unless it is the conservation centre itself. You can only access it by road, so no glass bottom boats and caged animals, thank you very much.