Tuesday, February 2, 2010


When you are traveling with a big group, it can be difficult to follow the itinerary as planned. There will always be somebody who hits the shower the last minute, someone who eats slowly and those who are just lazy once they get to the destination. Overall maintaining time is easier said than done. Especially when it comes to running to the beach on time for the sunset or getting back before the tide gets high, keeping up with nature’s strict time maintenance can become tough.

We began our walk towards the turtle hatchery when the sun shone on the beach with its bright orange rays. I could not stop to gaze and absorb the beautiful colors in the sky for a minute as I was tensed. The orange rays indicated that the sun was going down soon and it was going to get dark. How are we going to walk these kilometers on the beach, visit the hatchery and then walk all the way back to our resort? Even if it is full moon, it was going to take a while until it fully lights the shores for us to walk.I gathered up the group and told them that they must walk fast as they could so as to come back to the resort safely. Most of them were excited to go seethe hatchery as they had been informed about the eggs, the baby turtles and the occasional chances to see the mother turtles digging holes. The turtle hatchery is a government project that requires special permission to visit and as it is a hassle getting there, nobody really goes. However, as we had connections and because we are students with interest in the field of conservation, we decided to check the place out.

Although we initially walked at a steady pace, the rate declined as we moved forward. That particular side of Saint Martin’s Island beach was breathtakingly lovely that we wanted to slow down to just take it all in our photographic memories.

The sunshine, which had turned golden by then, penetrated the clear water and made the corals glisten. It was pure fun as we hopped from rocks to rocks to make our way through this unexploited beach. I can never get tired of following the patterns made by crabs on the sand and suddenly discovering a crab hiding under the shells. I looked closer and spotted ghost crabs which camouflage well with the sand. Beautiful birds of various types wereresting on the rocks and watching the fishermen head back to land. One of the photographers traveling with us commented that the unique shapes of the boats of the island really added angle to the pictures being taken. On the opposite side were rows of dense row of Keya trees standing strong to guard the inner land from any sort of disaster that may come its way. I could not decide what to focus on as all parts of the nature were at their ultimate beauty phase. I inhaled the salty air and refreshed my mind as the ocean gulped the burning ball down.

Disappointment rained over our big group of enthusiastic travelers once wereached theturtle hatchery about an hour later. It was dark, there was a sudden drop of temperature and there was nothing to see at the hatchery. We went in with our torch lights only to see a cage in which the eggs were kept under the piled up sand. THAT IS IT!?!

Five minutes later, we started heading back to the resort. I was worried about having to hear complains once we reach the resort. The walk back was more tough as everyone was tired, dissatisfied and because we had to walk faster. The tide was rising up to the shores paths where we walked a while back. Constant motivation was required to keep everyone walking as there may be a chance that we will be stuck at this isolated part of the island over night if the tide blocks our way. Using our torch lights to light the way over the rocks that were half under water by then was terrifying for few girls. Legs get heavy walking on dry sand which we had no option but to do as the wet sand portion of the beach was under the crashing waves by then. The rhythmic growling of the waves made me more nervous.

We could see our hotel being lit at a distance as we walked in the darkness. What I thought was a relief to all the members turned out to be more of displeasure. Someone suggested that we all turn off our torch lights for ten seconds before we get closer to the resort where the lights will lower the intensity of darkness. As our surroundings became darker, we found ourselves inevitably bending our heads upwards to see the starry sky. The sparkles millions of light years away eased our eyes and had a calming effect on our tired bodies and minds. Only then I realized that I was one of the few people in the group that were paranoid about the time keeping and dangerous risks involved in the trekking that we were about to finish. Everyone else was just busy enjoying the exquisiteness of Saint Martin’s Island.

Under the moon, we sat in a circle on the beach that night sharing our experiences with each other. Not many complains came up about the disappointing turtle hatchery. When you are in a beautiful place like Saint Martin’s Island, one of the most ecologically unique and diverse places of Bangladesh, you do not have to be worried about what is worth visiting the place. It will never let you down and you can leave it to the nature to take care of uncontrollable circumstances. Sometimes, it is okay to let go of time.

I just hope that in the way we did, all tourists enjoy and take pleasure in conserving this nature that is irreplaceable.

PHOTO CREDIT: Tahmid Huq Easher, Tanzeena Hussain Farah, Efaz Ahmed. Earth Club, North South University.

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