Tag Archives: Semporna

Turtle Hatchery of Sipadan Island

Baby turtles

One of the most exciting features of Sipadan Island (Pulau Sipadan in Malaysia language) is scuba divers can easily spot over 10 sea turtles. The turtles of Sipadan also don’t seem to be afraid of human. As Sipadan is a paradise for turtles and they don’t feel threaten here, can’t this island be a favorite nesting ground of turtles too? Funny thing is, very few tourists even wonder this, so the turtle hatchery on Sipadan can remain as a hidden secret and not flooded by visitors.

Sipadan Island
Sipadan Island has abundant corals and fishes, and sandy beach, the perfect conditions for turtle nesting. However, Turtle Islands Park and Lankayan Island of Sandakan are more famous than Sipadan as a turtle nesting site.

sea turtles in Sipadan
Pic: if you are lucky, you would spot turtle mating in Sipadan, which can last for 20 hours.

beach of Sipadan Island
During my visit to Sipadan in Apr, my dive operator Borneo Divers brought me to the Turtle Hatchery of Sipadan, which is about 150 Meters away from the jetty (turn left).

track mark of sea turtle on the sand
Pic: when I was getting near, I saw the “tyre mark” of mother turtle on the beach. This photo proves that sea turtle has wheels (just kidding!). The track shows that turtle crawls on beach inch by inch. It’s quite an effort so it prefers to lay eggs during high tide.

Turtle Hatchery of Sipadan
Pic: Turtle Hatchery of Sipadan. It is managed by Sabah Parks since 2005.

This hatchery is not open to public, so walk-in tourists won’t be entertained. You need to write-in to Sabah Parks in advance for a permit to visit (which is another permit different from diving permit). The Sabah Parks staff will guide you for a tour and even shows you the baby turtles (if available).

signage of Sipadan Turtle Hatchery
Pic: there is a turtle nesting below the signage. Seem like turtle can read too.

Turtle Hatchery
Pic: the entrance to the turtle hatchery

All the eggs from turtle nests will be transferred to this area for protection and conservation. The turtles that nest on Sipadan are Green Turtle (species: Chelonia mydas) and Hawsbill Turtle (species: Eretmochelys imbricata).

Turtle Hatchery area
Do you notice half of the hatchery is under the sun and another under the shade?

The temperature can determine the sex of the baby. Hotter sand temperature is more likely to produce female turtles (not 100% but very high chance). FYI, male turtle takes 10 days longer than female to hatch.

briefing by Sabah Parks
Mr. Joannes, who is the caretaker of turtle hatchery on Sipadan Island Park of Sabah Parks, tells us about the tagging, measuring, excavating and releasing of sea turtles. He also says the peak season of turtle nesting usually falls in August and the highest nesting record (of Sipadan) is 18 turtle landing in a night.

sea turtle conservation area
The eggs from each nesting is surrounded by mesh wire, to prevent predators such as lizard, rat and crab from digging for the eggs.

sea turtle nests
Pic: each nest is labelled and recorded for tracking and research purposes.

turtle nest in mesh wire
Pic: they will cover the opening of the mesh wire when the eggs are about to hatch (normally takes 70 days).

baby turtles
The baby turtles will be released into the sea. They don’t simply put all the baby turtles into a basket then pour them all into the sea. The correct way is to release the turtles about 4 Meters before the sea water. By doing so, they will remember their place of birth and come back in future for nesting. Scientists confirm that sea turtle has the ability to use Earth’s magnetic field to go back to where they hatch.

sea turtle in the sea
Based on the collected data from tagging, the turtles released from Sipadan can swim as far as the water of Philippines and Australia. Therefore, this conservation program also benefits the marine ecology of other countries. Let’s hope this amazing marine wildlife will be everywhere again in our ocean.

Photos taken in Semporna, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

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Pisang Goreng Cheese (Fried Banana with Cheese)

Pisang Goreng Cheese

Pisang Goreng (literally means Fried Banana, the correct translation is Banana Fritter) is the most popular snack for tea break in Malaysia. This sweet, crispy and golden dessert is made of banana that is battered and then deep fried, and you can find it everywhere in Sabah too, like coffee shops and street stalls. Last month I came across another (better) variation of Pisang Goreng, which is called Pisang Goreng Cheese (Banana Fritter with sprinkled cheese on top), in Semporna town.

Pisang Goreng Cheese
Pic: Pisang Goreng Cheese (Fried Banana with Cheese)

Pisang Goreng
Pic: photo of “common” Pisang Goreng

You can compare the last two photos to see the difference between Pisang Goreng Cheese and “common” Pisang Goreng. Pisang Goreng Cheese has shredded cheese on it.

Fried Banana with Cheese

The common Pisang Goreng is sold about RM1 (≈USD0.30) for 6 pieces, and Pisang Goreng Cheese is RM2 (≈USD0.60). Though Pisang Goreng Cheese is more expensive, it is worthy.

close-up of Pisang Goreng Cheese
The crispy surface of Pisang Goreng Cheese is sprinkled with shredded cheese and brownish Gula Melaka (Palm Sugar).

Fried Banana with Cheese
The taste is similar to ordinary Pisang Goreng, but I really love the coarse palm sugar, which has fruit-like sweetness and give this banana fritter two types of sweet tastes. I can’t taste any cheese, hope they can add more. Anyway, I presume the shredded cheese gives banana a creamy flavor.

Semporna market
You can find Pisang Goreng Cheese in open market of Semporna.

Other Locations

Besides Semporna, Indo Cafe in Tawau city also sells one of the best Pisang Goreng Cheese in Sabah. They are also famous for their Pisang Penyet (hammered banana fritters) and Mango Sago (a sweet dessert). Below is their contact:

Indo Cafe

Address (see Location Map): TB4604, Ground Floor , Block B, Bandaran Baru, 91000, Tawau, Sabah, Malaysia.
Tel: +60 14-3764752
Opening Hours: 9:30am – 10pm, opens daily (off day once in 2 weeks)

Indo Cafe II

Address (see Location Map): Lorong Pusat Komersial Uni Jaya, Tawau, 91000 Tawau, Sabah, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: 8am – 11:30pm daily

You also can find Pisang Goreng Cheese in Kota Kinabalu city. In Anjung Senja (Waterfront Esplanade), there is a shop named “M&N Corner” that sells Pisang Goreng Cheese for RM4 (≈USD1.20). However, despite higher price, it is not as good as the one in Semporna.

Pisang Goreng Cheese of Kota Kinabalu
Pic: Pisang Goreng Cheese of Kota Kinabalu

Have you tried Pisang Goreng Cheese?

Photos taken in Semporna, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

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