Travel Comoros, Uncategorized

Humpback Whales in Moheli Comoros

 

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It is that time of the year again, when the humpback whales have arrived to Mohéli, Comoros. A remote, isolated island in the country of Comoros located in the Indian Ocean north of Madagascar. These clean, calm and safe waters have been the birthing ground for Humpback whales for as long as the locals remember, and every year from July to October pregnant mama’s travel all the way from Antarctica to give birth here.

Photos by the ever talented Philipp Oppermann.

Humpback Whale Migration

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Guides, Travel Comoros, Uncategorized

How To Relocate A Sea Turtle Nest

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Mother nature knows best, and in her infinite wisdom a balance of life and death has been created on our planet. Unfortunately due to human kind breaking out of it’s mold and conquering just about every corner of our earth, whether its physical presence in the harshest desert landscapes, drilling for oil deep beneath the ocean or separating ourselves from nature with impressive buildings and creations. Our success has come at a steep price for many species on this earth, and we are currently living through the Holocene mass extinction. The next mass extinction since Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event, where no tetrapods larger than 25 kg except the leatherback turtle and crocodile survived.

The IUCN (International Union Conservation of Nature) monitors the population levels, health, distribution and projection of animals and decides to award them one of the 7 labels. Ranging from least concern to extinct. Sea turtles, who are sleek and elegant however have been hunted for their flesh and eggs by several cultures worldwide, are all on the endangered species list. There are 7 species of turtle, and none of them have escaped the effects of human expansion. That is why, whenever we see a injured, trapped or struggling turtle, it is our responsibility to help.

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Green Sea Turtle Status

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Travel Comoros, Uncategorized

Vegan Food in the Comoros

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When I first got the job offer to work on a tiny island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, I was extatic and mildly hesitant. Of course I immediately asked my boss whether there would be sufficient plant based options and he replied with “We have our own organic garden, but mostly everyone eats fish”. The job and the opportunity was simply too incredible to give up, so I figured I would move there and see what the food has in store for me.

What I found out, was unexpected and absolutely astonishing, not only do the Comoros Islands, which are located north of Madagascar and East of the Mozambique coast, have plant based food. They have an exquisite selection of exotic, tropical, unique starches, fruits and vegetables. Therefore, not only do I urge anyone who has not heard of this location to pick up an Atlas or search in Google maps, I highly encourage you to mark the spot as your next holiday destination.

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Eco Tips, reviews

Best Reusable Filter Water Bottles

Welcome to week 1 of the JuneOcean Challenge, 30 days with 30 ways to help save our oceans! Each week I am taking one of the ways and going into an indepth article right here on Ocean Pancake. However, for daily updates and information join the Ocean Pancake facebook group where you can share your ideas and eco knowledge!

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Before departing on my grand adventure to the Comoros, which you can read about here, one of the top things on my to do list was to purchase a sturdy waterbottle which would survive travel to the distant, middle of nowhere location my new job was in.  Moheli Island, is the smallest of the three Comoros Islands with some 35,000 inhabitants and 24h power exclusively at Laka Lodge thanks to the beauty of solar energy. I chose to get myself a pretty, blue, insulated hydroflask. Highly recommended if you do not need a filter. Here at Laka Lodge, the eco resort I work as a Scuba Diving Instructor at, depends on UV filter technology to ensure all our customers have clean drinking water.. Plastic Free!

Oh also, in case you are new here, plastic is my nemesis and I try and encourage everyone and anyone to decrease their use of plastic. Why? Just a quick overview

  • 38 billion plastic water bottles end up in landfill every year
  • That one bottle can take over 400 years to degrade
  • Just about every marine animal is in danger from injesting or becoming entangled in plastic

I have written up many posts about plastic waste management, quick and easy alternatives to plastic, how to travel plastic free, how to upcycle tshirts into bags, my favourite plastic free beauty products and how I helped rescue turtles from plastic and a full free guide to living plastic free!

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conservation, Travel Comoros

Saving Baby Turtle Hatchlings

After conducting a discover scuba dive from Laka Lodge, I offered my students whether or not they would like to have a walk on the beach. Completely unknown to me, this small decision would lead me to one of the best days of my life. Today, I would like to share with you how I helped 19 tiny turtles, to make their way across their first obstacle in life and enter the oceans.

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The Village of Itsamia

In the Comoros, there are two commonly seen types of sea turtles : The Green Sea Turtle and the Hawksbill sea turtle. These two are not only prevelant in the oceans, but the beaches here have become some of their most common nesting sites. Itsamia is the second largest nesting site for Green Turtles in the Indian Ocean. They lay their eggs year round and the 600 occupant village has been a driver in their protection in the last 40 years. Long before the first Marine Park was established in Moheli (in the year 2001), Itsamia inhabitants protected the turtles from being hunted and eaten.

Long before this was an environmental choice, they simply could not stand the stench of turtle and egg carcasses left behind by the hoard of hunters coming from other islands and villages. Since then environmental factors such as gaining a better understanding of the importance of healthy ecosystems, (since primarily all the villages on Moheli depend on fishing) and the benefits of tourism as renewed their vigour for protecting the nesting sites. All year round it is possible to go visit Itsamia and both see an adult female testing, and hundreds of tiny hatchlings emerging from the sand.

Green Turtles

Green turtles are one of the largest sea turtles and the only herbivore out of the 7 different species of sea turtle. The name has been given to them due to the green colouring of the cartilage, rather than the common beleif of being named after their shell. They reside mainly in tropical and subtropical waters world wide.

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Travel Comoros

Moheli Laka Lodge Eco Resort

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A welcoming sight of green, trees, paved paths and thatched huts in the distance greeted us. We were told that this is really indeed paradise, and I managed to process that this is where I am going to be living for the next nine months. The car rove up the cobbled path to the biggest building, which had a roof made out of pleated bamboo leaves. Inside I could see a couple of people sitting, my boss and supposedly the managers of the resort, waiting for me to arrive. I felt an enormous relief as I stepped out of the van. The luggage was whisked away to its various destinations, my backpack was taken from my sweating and aching shoulders and a cold coconut was placed in my hands. Is it possible that paradise does exist?

Of course, as soon as I was settled at the bar making the first introductions and drinking my coconut, a raincloud with pouring rain came over. I waited in the main restaurant until the main rains have passed, and then set out of a tour of the property. The restaurant is a 15x15m square structure, with white cement beems supporting wooden poles. The roof itself is made out of their traditionally braided palm leaves, giving the entire room a jungle vibe. Big white orbs hang gently in the breeze, which will light the restaurant with a calming yellowish light in the evenings.

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Once the rain had stopped, I was lead to my little beach front bungalow room. The first in a row of bungalows, it has a little porch with some comfortable chairs, a double bed with an overhanging mosquito net, a set of cupboards and a bathroom tucked away in the back. Luckily, my luggage is 70% dive gear, so I do not need much space for my belongings.

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Travel Comoros

Moving To a Tiny Island in the Indian Ocean

Since the middle of March, when I first took this job, I have heard many words describe the journey I am about to embark on.

Crazy” “Lonely” “Incredible” “Once in a Lifetime” “isolated” “Experience”  and so on.

Sitting on the floor of a packed Ethiopian airport, all these words are repeating themselves in my head and creating one of those world cloud representations of data.

The truth is, I nor no one I know, has ever been to the Comoros and despite being friends with many well travelled people, no one has quite managed to describe the experiences they have had in isolated islands or parts of the world. The feeling I have now, is not as if I am about to get onto a plane, but on the contrary : I feel as If I am entering a time machine. A machine that will transport me so far beyond the world I know, where I will merely glimpse snippets of ‘normalcy’ on this 9 month journey.

I’m going to a place with no shops, cinemas, cafes, crowded streets, crosswalks, ice cream trucks, Happy Cow reviews or just about everything I have become accustomed to by living in Australia and Europe.

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