Turtles and tit bits.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Sanur, Bali, Indonesia
It was finally time to head back towards Sanur. We had two more days left with the bike before we needed to take it back and also had somewhere near Sanur that we wanted to check out the following day. The place we had stayed at in Canggu had been amazing and it gave us ideas about coming back to Bali to live for another month some time. A nice room with Aircon and a pool would work out at around £4.40 a night for the two of us. Great meals at the cheap Warung up the road for around 80p makes it all very tempting to come back and settle in for a much longer time. Food for thought I guess.

The ride from Canggu to Sanur although not far was a grueling one . It's something I noticed on the last trip in Vietnam when we bought a motorbike to tour the country and it was no different here on this ride, I don't like riding in busy urban traffic in Asia. The small back roads are an absolute joy and even when your on the bike for 12 hours and feel physically drained it's still a pleasure but 30 minutes in chaotic urban traffic is a massive mental drain and I feel that more than the physical side at times. Your focus has to be spot on every single second or you could be in trouble. I have always tried to avoid riding through Denpasar the capitol but unfortunately I couldn't avoid it this time as it would have added hours to to what should have been a 50 minute ride. It was hectic stuff. Your senses are heightened and your trying to focus on everything around you. If only I had the head of an owl it would have made it much easier. 50 bikes swarming like flies in front of you. The general rule of Asian roads applies so those pulling out onto the road seem to have right of way so your fingers are constantly feathering the brakes just in case, your trying to anticipate every single move . Your also keeping an eye out constantly behind you as big gruesome trucks bear down on you just inches away with no intent on stopping. The fumes choke your throat and even wearing sunglasses you still struggle to keep dust and grit out of your eyes. As we approached Sanur I was reminded yet again of how fortunate we are to be enjoying this trip. We pulled up at a set of lights and as I looked around at the side of the road there was a poor old guy with no legs begging for money just inches from the roaring engines and exhausts. He must sit there all day doing this at the traffic lights among the fumes and incessant drone of the bikes. Even though we were only a few yards away we were unable to sort out any change in time before the lights changed and if we could have we would never have made it across to give it to him through the densely packed herd of scooters. I did see some locals in the car right next to him hand him some notes and I hope it was enough to get him off the busy junction for the rest of the day and some food inside him . We must be truly thankful for the comfortable lives we lead and the great experiences we are lucky enough to enjoy.

Shortly after that we turned off the busy bypass and into the relatively quiet and empty roads of Sanur, back to the Homestay we are at just a couple of weeks earlier. It had felt like much longer than two weeks. The amount of miles we have covered, the people we have met and the places we have seen does not feel like it would cram in to such a short period but it had and here we were. We grabbed our big bags from where they were stored and after a quick shower it was nice to pull on some fresh clothes and feel clean and refreshed again.

We had plans the following day, hence why we returned a couple of days before the bike was due back. There was a turtle sanctuary we had read about not far South of Sanur. Now you have to be careful with Turtle sanctuaries in Bali. There are several dotted around the coast and not all of them have the turtles best interests at heart . We had to do quite a bit of reading up to establish the genuine conservation projects from the money making tourist traps that do not care for the well being of the Turtles. If you do come here I really recommend you come and spend half a day at the Turtle Conservation and Education Centre on Serengan island. It's a very worthwhile cause and is a total non-profit organization. They also have branched out now and have other facilities further up the coast near Gianyar and also at Kuta.

The centre cares for and rehabilitates sick and injured turtles and also has a programme where they collect eggs from the beaches, incubate them and then release them at the safest quietest areas possible where the turtles will have a better chance of survival. Sea turtles only have a 1 in 1000 chance of making it to adulthood so they need all the help they can get especially when mankind is massively impacting their survival rate. Many are injured due to speed boats and watersports such as jetskis and a lot are struggling due to their habitat changing. Coral and reefs are in decline and plastic and pollution such as boats dumping their oil in the sea are increasingly pushing these amazing creatures towards extinction. In addition the illegal trade of turtles for their eggs and meat and also their shells for various products particularly in China is a massive factor in the decline of their numbers. The staff there are amazing though. All volunteers and it is something we are looking to do in the near future. To return and give some of our time to helping the project.It relies solely on donations and volunteers. No entrance fee just donate what you feel you can afford.

So what about the turtles themselves then? Well they are beautiful, cute and adorable. The centre looks after 4 of the 7 species of sea turtle found in the world. The Hawksbill, probably the most well known thanks to Finding Nemo, the Green turtle, Olive and Loggerhead. They have an incubation area there for the eggs and around a dozen pools for turtles of varying size as well as those in quarantine due to parasites and disease. Heart breakingly they also have a large turtle there that will never get returned to the ocean and it's natural habitat. It has a large chunk of shell missing and also one front flipper has been torn off by a boats propellor. Saddening to see as this creature may live beyond a hundred years in the confines of a small pool. It would never survive being released as with only one front flipper it could not dive for food and surface for air as it needs to so spends it days in a pool of shallow water so that it can breathe as it should. Overall it's an amazing place that is cared for and maintained by people who are passionate about the survival of these beautiful creatures but it's sad that it comes down to such things in the first place.

When we returned to Sanur it was a an easy going day. We chilled on the beach for a few hours and relaxed in the warm waters of the sea, something I don't get to say too often about Seaburn! We sorted out our boat for the next day across to Nusa Lembongan a small island half an hour off the East coast of Bali then after sunset I headed off in search of a place called Eat Sleep Skate. It's a place to stay with with a purpose built pool for skating and I hoped to borrow a board and get a bit of skating of done while I'm in Bali. It's located between Sanur and Denpasar and took quite a bit of finding as it's down some quiet back roads and tucked amongs some local housing. Unfortunately they only have sessions on a Friday. Saturday and Sunday unless you are staying there but I hope to check it out and get some skating done before we leave Bali.

After another great cheap feed at Sanur night market it was back for a cheeky Bintang and an early night ready for our boat in the morning. Another couple of good days under our belt.

Here is a link to a quick video of the turtle sanctuary I made.


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