Coral Reef Restoration in Malaysian Borneo

Harlequin Sweet Lips, (Plectorhinchus chaetodonoides) taking refuge in artificial reef

Coconut Cove, North Tip of Borneo, Malaysia

Harlequin Sweet Lips, (Plectorhinchus chaetodonoides) taking refuge in artificial reef as divers adds to reef structure. Photo David McGuire

It is good to be back in Malaysia among my finny friends.I am in a more familiar setting following weeks among leeches, razor sharp rattan and rotten fish on the National Geographic Explorer funded Expedition Laos, In Kota Kinabalu, the capitol of East Malaysia, I meet with Dr. Steve Oakley, the founder and director of the Tropical Research and Conservation Centre (TRACC). TRACC is a non profit coral reef conservation organization in Sabah, Malaysia (Borneo) which runs marine conservation expeditions (snorkel or SCUBA) engaging volunteers and visitors to rebuild coral reefs. Steve is a marine biologist and British expat who settled in Borneo 18 years ago, and is active in marine conservation including the newly formed Sabah Shark Protection Association.

Together we are planning a national Malaysian Shark Week promoting support for the shark conservation initiative. But first we will go back into the field. I join Steve on a bus ride from Kota Kinabalu to the research camp at Coconut Cove on the North tip of Borneo. First we have to get to the field station.

The front yard of the TRACC Research Camp. Near Kudat Borneo. Photo David McGuire

The buildings of KK fade into fields and forest broken by the ever-present plantations of Palm Oil lining the two lane highway. Twelve Ringgit ($4 US) and five hours later Steve and I arrive in the town of Kudat. We are met by a field assistant Jason, a lean tattoed Canadian who first came to increase his dive sertification and then stayed to assist with the coral restoration efforts. Loaded with provisions for the sudents and crew, the —> Read More