The sleepy village of Juara, Tioman Island

When we faced changing winds that would turn our anchorage on the west side of Tioman from placid to exposed, it was an easy decision to hop a few miles around to a beach on the other side. We even got to sail a little: bonus!

Juara is typically exposed- in the northeast monsoon, it’s even a surf beach: really not where you’d choose to anchor most of the time. There was nothing much to see underwater, but enty of fun on shore.

Siobhan and I spent some quality time at the Juara Turtle Project. They help improve outcomes for turtle eggs laid on Tioman beaches, provide education and outreach to residents and tourists about turtles and broader conservation issues. Great information is presented about current nesting and historical data, in a highly accessible way. They haven’t been working in the area long enough to have statistically significant data… which is relief, because the last handful of years have not exactly been a positive trend.

Hopefully it’s just a temporary dip. They’ve got a great hook to engage and educate the local community: an open door policy and English language lessons. Kids get supplemental English language instruction, parents tag along, and everybody learns- not just about the importance of preventing the turtle population from disappearing from Tioman, but about a variety of ocean conservation issues. It’s brilliant: better organized than any of the others we’ve seen.

The kids spent most of our days there playing on the beach, of course. The snorkeling was entirely uninteresting (sand, sand, more sand). We did a hike inland to a waterfall one morning. Getting there was half the fun. There was the pontoon we had to haul ourselves across the lagoon in, for starters.

The “waterfall” turned out to be an enthusiastic description for a stream bubbling over boulders, but it did make a nice pool at the bottom to paddle around in. The water was very refreshing: shaded under the tall canopy, and gloriously cool after the hot hike up the hillside. Inevitably, boulders invite.. bouldering.

Apparently the frogs liked the water here, too. Ridiculous number of frogs- big ones, too.

We were peacefully hanging out around the pool (eyeing frogs / treetop gazing / pretend fencing with sticks / paddling around) when a very large tree crashed in the jungle immediately adjacent. I nearly jumped out of my skin! Well, there we go again, living without seat belts or safety bars.

Soon enough the weather was expected to switch back and we had to move around again, but we were glad to get a chance to check out this quieter side of Tioman.

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