From Taman Negara we had to get to Singapore. As i mentioned it was a journey to get there and a journey to leave as we found out! But a very worthwhile journey.
We had to catch a bus from the National Park to a town called Jerentut where we thought we could get a bus or train straight to the border of Singapore, but when we got there there wasnt a bus, there was a train that took 10 hours (its only about 400kms) that left at 2.00am or we were advised to go to the next town where we could get a bus from there. So we decided to go to the next town. On the way there, we got talking though, a girl had mentioned to us that there were turtles laying their eggs at a place called Cherating and that since we were on a timelimit we probably werent going to get a chance to go there. So we decided that if we got to this next town and there was a bus to Kuantan (near Cherating) before 3.00pm we would go there for the night (it was just a bit out of the way) We got into the bus station at like 2.20pm and the next bus to Kuantan was at 2.30pm so we thought well since we had decided to go if a bus went before 3.00pm we would go! It was as if it was all meant to be, we arrived at Kuantan just in time for the bus to Cherating (another hour away) and we got to Cherating just on dark.
Once there we found out sometimes the turtles come to lay and somedays they dont, you just have to be lucky. But if there is one a guide will come around to all the guesthouses and tell everyone so you can go and see. We had dinner and were just off to the internet when a guide came past and said there were turtles, if we wanted to see one we had to go now. Now being wary of schemes in Thailand, it was too good to be true and the guy was being quite full on, like we have to go now! and we werent sure but we thought what the hell, we went all this way, if we lose 50 Ringet in a scam well at least we tried!
We got into the car with a guide and 2 other travellers and he drove us to another state! but when we got there we were informed there were 2 turtles about to lay their eggs that night. We had to stay away until the turtles started to lay so not to disturb them, then while they were laying we could get closer in small groups and take 2 photos with no flash.
It was so awesome seeing it in the wild, it was like we were watching the discovery channel. The turtle lays about 70- 140 eggs then takes another hour to bury them before they return to the sea and then we could take 2 photos with a flash.
The rangers actually collect the turtle eggs before she burys them (but she doesnt know), because of illegal poaching and other animals digging them up, and then they take them to a hatchery where they rebury the eggs with the date and how many eggs on a tag and let them hatch naturally before releasing them into the wild.
After the turtle layed her eggs, because it takes an hour for her to bury them, we went to the hatchery where some baby turtles had hatched that day and we got to take them down to the water to release them. They were so cute! We released about 30 of them into the crashing waves, only 1 in 100 make it to 25 years old, which is when they are old enough to lay their own eggs.
After that we went back to the mother to watch her return to the ocean. By then it was like 1.30am! It was the most awesome thing we have seen or done so far and it cost us 25 Ringet each which is like AU$9.00, at home something like that would cost like $50.00 each! It was such a crazy day getting there and everything, it was meant to be :)
Check out our pics of the turtle!