Sharks, turtles, Flying Fox invasion! Wildlife heaven and hell…

Pulau Tioman in the South China Sea is an idyllic tropical island. Although tourism is healthy, they keep it low-key and sustainable. It’s a great place to immerse yourself in the natural world, but the animals are not always so kind to sailboats.

When flying foxes attack the instruments on your sailboat mast how would you discourage them? Every night on Pulau Tioman these Large Flying-foxes (Pteropus vampyrus), with wingspans of up to 1.5m, leave the trees in their thousands on the hunt for fruit. On the way they like to stop off on the masts of any hapless sailboat which happens to be at anchor. They’re big, strong and break important bits of sailing equipment, like Windex wind direction indicators, just by sitting on them. Near-threatened on the IUCN Red List, the crew has to find ways of discouraging them without causing any damage.

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Underwater at Tioman, the coral is vibrant and healthy. Jamie filmed shoals of reef fish while black tip reef sharks patrolled between the coral heads.

We talked to the Juara Turtle Project, an NGO trying to save turtles by protecting their nests. Of the 27 beaches around Tioman used for nesting by hawksbill and green turtles in the past, only 5 remain. But the project is doing a great job of protection and at the same time giving employment to the local community.

Peace and fair winds
Liz, Jamie and Millie ❤️

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