Volunteer stories: Julia’s two weeks

Worth an experience? YES!

Did I wanna leave? NO!

Will I miss this place? DEFINITELY!

When I first got here two weeks ago, I didn’t think leaving this island would make me a bit sad…. I fell in love with this peaceful island, the friendly people here like Tanja, Lory, Et and Lory’s guests. Not to forget, the Naucrates Team!!!! Once I got used to early mornings, cold bucket showers, mosquitos whenever it gets a little late and no electricity/ air-condition, I could call this a place to stay for longer. Maybe not forever… The spicy food, ants haunting me day and night and  midday-sun are not really my favorite, but still, two weeks passed by so fast and I honestly don’t want to leave right now.

Nevertheless, the reason why I decided to go here is not the island nor the people, it was the project – SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION and anything that goes along with it: Beach walks, AM as well as the sweaty PM observation, reef check, weather data, raising awareness with turtle talks and the museum located in Lion’s village. With all these data to acquire, tasks to do and monitoring, I never got bored, actually, I’ve really enjoyed the free time – just relaxing in the hammock, reading my book or simply enjoying the sound of nature. Working in paradise…

All in all, these two weeks were definitely worth the experience. Now I know what life is like on a remote island, as well as how research projects like this work: Everything takes time and will get sorted out at some point – “It’ll all works out somehow.” Sure, I know that one can’t influence such projects, especially not wild life, nevertheless, it would have been soo awesome seeing a turtle’s nest hatch or just seeing a turtle up close… closer that through binoculars when doing observation. It is really sad to know how turtle population sizes/ nests are decreasing over time.

The things I will keep in mind during my further travel are the information I’ve acquired about turtles, their populations, species behaviors, statistics about turtles here and elsewhere and how to support them, or at least not to harm them. Although I was environmentally aware and conscious on recycling, the two beach cleans have opened my eyes even more and made me realize that this issue of water pollution and ecological footprints is more serious that I’ve expected it to be. These tons of Styrofoam that get washed onto the beaches every day, shocked whenever going for the beach walk, passing these huge amounts of garbage.  I will try to produce as little waste as possible during my travel, although that is going to be very hard, especially since the countries in Southeast Asia don’t really care thaaaat much in comparison to Germany for instance. The Naucrates project has enhanced my interest to join another project (probably in Australia) and keep on doing a little bit to make our planet healthier and get people engaged, and change their minds to join the movement.

I wish Naucrates and the team all the best for the future and may the future bring more turtles back to Koh Phra Tong, so that this project can remain here. For Susanna and Anik I hope they keep up with their mission to conserve wild life on our planet, in the oceans as well as on land. Let all of us inspire the people surrounding us to join and help reducing climate change. 🙂

 

 

Thanks for all, the everlasting memories here with Naucrates at NOK’s.

Julia 🙂

Volunteer stories: Julia’s first day

As volunteers, we assist the staff members in recording data, completing their surveys and wherever we can help. For instance, on my first day, Anik scheduled Susanna and me to do the beach walk –  monitor 5km of the beach (to note, its 10km including the walk back…) to check if any turtle tracks have appeared, recording some data about fishing activities or other human activities, starting at 6:30 in the morning. Although it was a pretty nice, chill and long walk, my feet didn’t do well afterwards and I got some really huge blisters. 🙁

(They healed within a week though, so I wasn’t able to do the walk again so far.) Nevertheless, there is no other way to get around on the island than walking. (Side note: my average distance count is 7km without the beach walk.)

Back to my first day… after that Nok’s wife Lamion (where we stay), made us some really good French toast and fruit for breakfast! Still my highlight of the day. 🙂 For lunch, we had to cross a creek to get to Lory’s, which is basically an eco-friendly resort on this island and a 30 min walk from Nok’s. Unfortunately, it was high tide, meaning the water was up to my chest/neck. Looking foolish with bags on our heads, we crossed the creek safely.By then it was shortly afternoon, so Anik decided to show me the village, where some locals live and Naucrates’ museum is located.

Sometimes we had to get off the sidecar because we were too heavy for the motorbike to make it through the sandy paths (not even roads, to be honest…). By the time we arrived and Susanna showed me around, it was starting to become dark so Anik took us back to Lory’s and we had to walk the rest back to Nok’s, which by this time it had started to rain. If I’d had to describe it with one word: Soaked. Tons of water was coming down at us, so by the time we arrived we were badly soaked.

Yeah, so that was pretty much my first day on the remote island. Lots of “first times” and premiers, but on the whole, it was a very interesting and exciting first day. After dinner, my bed was awaiting me. The fresh breeze let me fall asleep within seconds. Therefore: GOOD NIGHT!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Volunteer stories: Julia’s arrival

Hi,

I’m Julia, 18 years old, from Germany and just finished High School. I joined the Naucrates project for two weeks (1.2-15.2.2018) and hope to get a glimpse of what a conservation project looks like since I haven’t participated in any other before. The only kind of experience I’ve had previously, that seems relevant for this project, was back in high school my so-called subject “Environmental Systems &Societies”, but also some previous diving and snorkeling. I have never been to Thailand before, so let’s see what expects me here.

For my arrival at Naucrates, I chose to take a taxi from Phuket airport to Khuraburi, just because I wanted to arrive safely and had no clue how to travel all by myself. This is actually my first journey alone. So, after the 3,5h drive some boat picked me up and we headed towards the thousands of islands. At the latest by now, I figured that this is not a touristy place at all. Somewhere in between those islands, I got dropped off and another local Thai gave me a ride into the savanna. No roads, no signs, just sand and some dried plants surrounding us. My first experiences of a remote island. All of the sudden, I saw some house-like construction: NOK’s.

There, I was welcomed by three very kind and open people: Anik (Canadian), the current Team leader; Susanna (Finnish), the research assistant and the intern Timo (Finnish). Timo quickly showed me around…. I figured, there is not much comfort as I was used to back home. “At least the toilet flush works”, I thought. Everything was really basic, but enough to feel comfortable and to manage two weeks here.

This is basically where I will be staying for
the next two weeks; barely reception, not working Wi-Fi and no “indoors” as I used to know them back in Germany. Nevertheless, I am already enjoying the nature, its sound and air, not denying the fact that it is extremely lonely and quiet out here, to which I will have to get used to.