Sunday, November 16, 2008

A happy distraction on a dark night

Our hawksbill turtle nesting season is just getting underway and it is most unusual to have Green turtles nest on the beach that we patrol, so it was with great excitement we received the news that a large turtle had come up on the beach during the midnight hours of 28th August. She had dug several body pits but there was no conclusive evidence that she had laid. We were pleased to note that she had returned to the sea without hindrance.

Green turtle tracks, photo Elke Talma

Although no one had seen her, and her tracks had been washed clean by the high tide, we were all convinced that it had to have been a Green turtle.

Some 58 days later we received a phone call from friends who were working under bright lights late that evening on their boat. They had lots of baby green turtles crawling everywhere and very few were going towards the sea!

Marcel hurried down to the beach and soon all the confused little hatchlings had been gathered up and the lights doused. Marcel walked into the sea, shining his torch upon the water ahead of him. As the little hatchlings were released, they crawled down the beach, following Marcel and his torch into the sea. Swimming strongly after the torches gentle light, they soon disappeared off in the horizon.

Held back for their fifteen minutes of fame, photo Patricia Mathiot

As we could not use flash photography for fear of damaging the hatchlings eyes, three were retained overnight to be photographed in the good morning light before being released. To help them further on their journey, Marcel took them on a boat ride and release them several kilometres offshore, to give them a better chance of catching up to their siblings.

… News from Patricia.

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