Turtle Island Borneo Travel Pictures Malaysia
In Sabah state, Malaysia, on Borneo, I took a boat tour from Libaran Island across this part of the Sulu Sea to see the turtle sanctuary at Pulau Selingaam on Turtle Island.
This tour is a major draw for visitors. In my experience, it is a safe tour, though it could well be different in stormy weather; Your tour operator should have the latest information. Some tours offer an overnight stay on Turtle Island to allow evening walks to see the turtles' natural environment.
Boat tour to from Libaran Island to Pulau Selingaam
After lunch at Libaran Island, we headed out for Turtle Island.
[This was the view as we left Turtle Island on the way back to Libaran; on the way to the island, it had been raining.]
I include it here NOT because it is a great photo -- far from it -- but because it shows how very much alone we seemed in the Sulu Sea.
It also gives an idea of how small Turtle Island is. At one point, our guide pointed out two smaller islands to the east of our route. He named them as two of the outer islands of the Philippines.
Pulau Selingaam - Turtle Island Beach Tour Borneo
Turtle Island turtle hatchery sign at Pulau Selingaam.
Some tours offer overnight stays here at Turtle Island. There's a two storey building just past this sign, with rooms and baths, but no other facilities to speak of.
Overnight guests at Turtle Island also stop at Libaran Island for lunch as there are no meal services on Turtle Island.
They also come back to Libaran for dinner and then again on their way back to the mainland, stop in at Libaran for breakfast the following morning.
While these overnight visitors to Turtle Island took all meals at the same open air restaurant at Libaran that we did, we never mixed. Meal time was given to orientation, etc for their more in depth tour.
Before dinner, guests speakers talked to the overnighters about the work done at the hatchery, and briefed them in how to conduct the mid-evening turtle egg walks on this island, and totally ignored other guests.
Turtle Island Hatchery Turtle Egg Repository Borneo Travel
Here's a picture of the turtle eggs recovered from the sands on one of the beaches then buried here, awaiting hatching.
On the flight from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan, several of us began chatting about our plans in Sandakan.
One young man, clad in shiny travel gear with a backpack so new and hi-tech is positively glowed, said he was going to Turtle Island, too, before heading into the heart of Sabah.
It seems he was here as a winner of the National Geographic Young Geographer award and as such, was the beneficiary of such shiny new travel gear.
He hadn't done much traveling before now, and was absolutely thrilled to find himself in Borneo. Well, who wouldn't be!
Day Trip to Beach at Turtle Island via Libaran and Sandakan Borneo
This is the beach at Pulau Selingaam on Turtle Island.
After a walk around the Turtle Hatchery area, and a tour of the main building to show us where to change into and out of swimwear, and find the restrooms, we headed down a path to this beach, where we could swim, snorkel or snooze for a few hours.
The water was clean and clear, very warm and shallow for some distance out.
Small fish scrabbled around us, and a fine time was had by all.
As I sat under a tree for shade -- for the sun had decided to stay out for while -- I thought how alike beaches can be. If I had not known I was in Borneo, I could think I was on Green Island in Queensland or the Sosua area beaches in the Dominican.
Turtle! Mating! Free! Day trip to Turtle Island Borneo highlight!
On the way back to Libaran Lodge for the night, our driver suddenly cut the boat's speed, then slowed to a stop.
As we bounced gently in the wake, he spoke softly to us, and pointed to two distant shapes in the water.
There really are two turtles mating in this picture! Though we felt like voyeurs, it was such an amazing sight in the wild, we HAD to try to get a picture.
Last night's overnight guests on Turtle Island had paid extra to stay there, in hopes of getting sights of turtles in the wild.
Here, we dallying day trippers got to see not only one turtle, but two, out in the Sulu Sea, mating. We could hardly wait to tell them at breakfast the next morning. (You know what terrible one-uppers we travellers are!) Should you get the chance, to take the tour to Turtle Island, if only for the afternoon. See Libaran Island page, too.