|Sunrise over the Penang Harbor, 20 October 2011|
Blog Entry #37: Penang National Park and the Turtle Conservation Center
Thursday, October 20, 2011
|Sunrise over Penang Harbor|
After so many days cooped up in either a ship or a bus, Pat and I were really looking forward to a day of hiking through the rain forest in Penang National Park. Unfortunately Pat had too much University of Montana curricular work that had piled up while we were in India, so he took a day to get through it while I joined 14 others on this cross-island trek.
|Map of Penang with its distinctive "turtle" shape|
Penang is a small island off the far NW corner of Malaysia, and less than 100 miles south of the border with Thailand. Our guide refers to it as a turtle with its head withdrawn; Georgetown is near the upper right of NE “leg” and Penang National Park near the upper left of NW “leg.”
|Luxury Condos in Penang|
Our drive to this NW corner of Penang Island took us across Georgetown, which seems to be in a mad race to put up luxury-condominium skyscrapers end to end across the island. 20 years ago the KOMTAR building was virtually the only high-rise on Penang Island, but the booming economy since then has changed that, and now historical preservationists are dueling with real estate developers in their efforts to preserve and restore many of the older buildings in their distinctive architectural styles.
|Entrance to Penang National Park|
Formed in 2003 and covering less than 10 square miles, Penang National Park preserves some of the island’s remaining native rain forest and turtle egg-laying habitat, and is considered to be the world’s smallest national park. We had the good fortune of working with two guides who had grown up in this area and knew both the terrain and the flora and fauna intimately.
|Army ants with larvae from raid|
|Rattan with spiral thorn pattern|
|2-day old Green Turtles|
|Baby Green Turtle at Kerachut Beach|
|Beach at Penang National Park entrance|
|Mangrove roots along beach|