Maldives Rowing Volunteer
Taking tuna to the turtles
Hello again, after a brief departure from the Male island area I am back, sadly not refreshed and revitalised, but very much enthused!  I have spent the past couple of days in the company of the lovely Tiny Island Conservation team on Naifaru in Lhaviyani Atoll. Tiny Island is the only community run conservation programme in the Maldives, running a turtle nursery, conservation education programmes and other programmes through the brilliant Naifaru Juvenile, an NGO run by Naifaru locals.  After 8 months in the Maldives I have at last visited an island that does not lie in the shadow of Male and it was a fantastic experience, particularly to meet people so passionate about improving their island and the lives of those there and most importantly, doing something positive about it.  There is a huge amount for me to learn from what is happening in Naifaru, and I have returned bursting full of inspiration of what can be done if you set your mind to it!

Teeny tiny turtles
Other residents of the island include over 100 baby and young turtles in both the nursery and in the sea station (a turtle halfway house).  The volunteers, currently the lovely and very hard working Hannah, Kirsty and Liam, have the job of cleaning, feeding and caring for all the turtles until they can be released, not a task for the light hearted or weak stomached, the smell is more than over powering when the nursery is opened in the morning!  The majority of the turtles arrived after being confiscated from a poacher by the police a couple of weeks ago, a fantastic job by the police in the fight against turtle poaching.

Dhon Dhooni, the celeb turtle
One of the most famous residents of the turtle nursery is Dhon dhooni, the albino turtle, a real rarity and sadly cannot be released as he would be a very easy snack for a passing shark.  Hopefully Dhon will be able to live with his growing celebrity and not let his ego run wild and become the Elton John of the turtle world, demanding only the pinkest tuna and white sea grass, although if he could sing to the other turtles like Elton they might forgive him - I have digressed I am sorry! 

Nasty, nasty bird, no idea what it is
Whilst on Naifaru, I had a mostly great time, getting really close to turtles, having seen them in the wild whilst diving it was fab to see them up close and see the amazing colours (apart from Dhon Dhooni). The only down side to the trip was this bird, someone's "pet" which was wandering around getting in the way and refusing to move for anything.  The pesky bird bit my toe whilst I was trying to help get it out of the way and caused and severe injury (well a cut to the toe but it jolly well hurt), definitely my least favourite Naifaru resident.  My least favourite part of the trip was the boat ride home, having had a flat calm beautiful trip out here, the return was an absolute horror.  Three hours on a very noisy speed boat, rear facing with no view outside, stifling the urge to vomit and bracing yourself against the back breaking jumps over the waves and I mean back breaking, I can barely stand up straight today, is not a glamorous way to travel, in fact it is up there in the top five worse journeys of my life! ( It is beaten only by journeys under a terrible hangover curse and then only just)

Invurtle alert
On to one of my favourite residents of Naifaru, "The Invuuuurtllllllles" the two turtles with inverted shells, who live in the sea station, with their inside out shell, they look like they have been in a turtle road accident and been shunted on a turtle highway in the sea.  Anyhow they appear to carry on as normal despite continually having their bottom stuck up in the air whether they like it or not - not the best way to live your life.  Swimming with the turtles in the sea station was lovely, even if they did like to have a little nip of anything they could get in their nosey beaks.  There is not much more peaceful in the world than watching them contentedly munch on the sea grass or just relaxing with their front flippers on their shells.
Big thanks to everyone at Tiny Island and Naifaru, especially Hana and Mohammed for letting me come and visit their programme and hopefully I will have more news soon as the reason for my trip.  In other rowing news, Guin and Rebecca are now down in Addu to witness to rowing revolution that is taking place down there, unfortunately they will be returning to Male before the grand rowing regatta (rescheduling threw the timetable out of kilter a bit!).  However they will be able to witness the growing boathouse on Hulhumale and meet some of the super swimmers before they return to the UK.  We will have more of an update from the South soon, but have a look at all the photos from Naifaru and bye for now!


1/25/2012 04:40:08 am

Nice one info, thx

1/27/2012 03:45:25 pm

will return before long

3/21/2012 07:06:56 am

THX for info

3/27/2012 10:45:10 am

will return soon

3/28/2012 08:24:45 pm

will return shortly

7/17/2012 04:31:06 pm

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6/9/2013 10:12:08 pm

Hi Rachel & Tash, It is great to see a community so fully engaged in protecting these majestic creatures - Keep up the good work


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