A long sweep of golden sand washed by the open South China Sea and similarly cooled by its reliable sea breeze.
Juara is a most pleasant place to take a cooling dip when the day is at its hottest, and looking back towards land, you can really appreciate the beauty of the place. As you look upon turquoise waters, golden sands, palm trees and the toothlike peaks of Tioman rising sharply behind the bay.
The beach was a great place for The Boy to play, and we were very fortunate that the son of the owners of the Juara Beach resort (where we stayed) was always willing to take him off our hands and walk him around the restaurant or verandah area.
One of the highlights of the area is a Turtle Sanctuary that is run as an NGO by a rather geographically diverse bunch of people. As part of our visit we were given a presentation by a rather monotone American girl which consisted of numerous slides about Turtle habitats, behaviour and lifecycles, supported by a similar number of gorefest photoslides highlighting the messy death that awaits many of these ancient creatures by way of speedboat motor, waste plastic suffocation and such things.
We were then treated to a feeding display where the sole adult turtle they keep in captivity (it was born without eyes) is fed a diet of raw cabbage. I appreciate the work the NGO is doing to protect the turtle species that nest on Tioman, but I couldn’t help but question what this sideshow brought to the party, as it seemed to be an unnecessarily cruel act to keep a creature in such a confined space as they were. The turtle had only a large hot-tub’s worth of water to swim in and what with being blind, couldn’t have a very fulfilling life I would imagine.
The hatchery was interesting though, and anything they can do to improve the survival chances of these endangered creatures should be welcomed. They seem to be doing a good job of educating the locals about the impact both environmentally and commercially of killing turtles or taking their eggs, which is more than can be said about what the locals are doing to educate visitors like me about the sand flies of Juara.
Man, I wish I had worn a UV protection suit like The Boy. The quality time spent paddling with him and building sandcastle for his immediate destruction was what this trip is all about, but it came at a cost of what? 50 bites?
I was itching so badly that all across my back, arms and legs I have puss headed welts as a reminder of our visit. I understand they calm down and disappear after a week.
Luckily with a journey back to Singapore and then a flight to Kuching, Malaysian Borneo on the cards, I can likely spare onlookers the sight of my pox-ridden white skin for that length of time.