Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Turtle Bay

       Last Saturday we went on an outing with other missionary couples to Turtle Bay.  Turtle Bay is a resort on the south end of the island.  It is owned by a Vietnamese family.  They have bungalow rooms to rent, a restaurant, conference facilities, and a turtle rescue program.  The big turtles are endangered on many of the islands.

      This is Sister Bennion, myself, Sister Call, and Sister Edwards.  The Edwards are only going to be here for one month.  That is why we planned the outing.  The Edwards travel to all of the south pacific islands.  They work with training seminary and institute directors and teachers.
      They have a few other exhibits at Turtle Bay.  These are what the NiVans (Vanuatu natives) call flying foxes.  They hunt them and eat them.  They are actually fruit bats.  Remember - they sell them at the open market sometimes.

     This is Sister Call 'wearing' the geikos.  She is always brave.  The other sisters didn't want anything to do with them.  No one asked, if I wanted a turn.  It would have been fun!
      They also have wild boars in enclosures.  The wild boars are among the few wild animals that are native to the Vanuatu Islands.  The tusks are highly prized.
      Now - by the young turtles, they have cocoanut crabs.  These are huge.  Their pinchers are so strong that they can crush open a whole cocoanut.  Avoid them at all cost.  However, they are supposed to be delicious. They are very expensive on a menu!  Our tour guide was Margaret, a member of the church, who lives and works at Turtle Bay with her husband, the chef, and her two children.
       The turtles live in large, deep cement ponds.  They are separated by age.  The people collect the new eggs on the shore and bring them into the compound.  Otherwise they are eaten as eggs or as babies by the birds and animals.  They keep the turtles until they are five years old in the cement ponds.  By then they are large enough to fend for themselves, and they are returned to the ocean.  They have been doing this for years  -  sea life conservation!

      There are turtles that they protect in a sea pond that are old.  There are three that we saw.  They are 60, 70, and 80 years old.  Visitors can feed them papaya.   However, be careful to keep your fingers away from their months.  They can bite hard!!!!

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