After an amazing 5 weeks working with TRACC we were sad to have to leave, but our Malaysian visa was due to expire so we had no choice. Over those weeks we met some incredible people, undertook some amazing diving, increased our knowledge of marine ecosystems and species and helped lay the foundations for a new site for a truly worthwhile and dedicated organisation.
If TRACC meets its objectives dynamite fishing would be eliminated, large areas of coastal coral environments would be protected from fishing to allow fish stock to grow and recover, shark fishing would be eliminated and coral species around the world would be hybridised to provide them with resistance against increasing acidity levels of sea water.
In addition the local communities around these coral systems would be educated in how to manage their local land and marine environment so that they can farm and fish sustainably without destroying a hugely diverse and complex ecosystem that much of the world depends on for food.
Now that would be a big achievement! But if it could work in Borneo then it could work anywhere.
So with heavy hearts and a teary farewell we headed to Kota Kinabalu with Barna, our real life Atilla the Hun meets Conan the Barbarian, as bodyguard and friend. We had a great few nights back in civilisation with beds and hot showers and then headed our separate ways. Barna back to Hungary and us to the border to renew our visa in Brunei.
A huge thank you to the TRACC team as we say farewell to the North Tip of Borneo
A selection of diving shots we'd not included in previous posts and a huge thank you to Eva for using some of her her pictures and for lending me her underwater camera and teaching me macro shooting
A Sea Hare - related to Nudibranch, Flatworms and other sea slug families. They're prevalent on the sands in the deeper waters off the north tip
Frog fish - poisonous, hard to spot and dam ugly but very cool
A juvenile Batvia Spadefish resting near a feathered sea star
A nudibranch - not sure which one - there are hundreds of species!
A toby - my favourite
A snake eel hiding amongst the coral
Common Lionfish - these guys have no fear - probably because they are extremely poisonous!
Lots of different types of jellyfish around the north tip, some sting others don't - its best not to find out which the hard way!
Butterfly fish, normally very common over all coral reefs but not so around the north tip - definitely something to be investigated
A juvenile Harlequin Sweetlips, more affectionately known as a "Wiggle Bum" - these small juvenile fish just can't stop wriggling and jiggling their way around the reef