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The season for turtle nesting has arrived

By GVI Curieuse 5 days ago

Big day in the turtle world today – what a truly amazing dayǃǃ

Before heading on our hike towards Grand Anse, Alex asked us how many turtles we were going to see today, Sophie told him that we would see 5 turtles and 14 dolphins, and so we did – well… almost at least. It was a wet and cold morning, but we were optimistic because if we were going out in this rainy weather we would for sure be rewarded with turtles.

As we reached Grand Anse, we immediately started to see tracks from turtles everywhere; you could really tell that we are in the nesting season. We walked slowly down the beach while taking notice of the turtle activity, amazed by how many tracks and body pits there were. Suddenly someone up in the front shouted ʺturtleǃǃʺ, so the rest of us quickly ran to see it. We were all very excited this was the first turtle we had seen, out of all our turtle surveys. Even though the turtle was on her way into the water and we therefore only saw a short glimpse of her, we all agreed this had been a truly amazing view. We carried on scanning the beach for turtle activity and soon reached the end of Grand Anse where we went into our hiding area. It was still raining and people were dripping from a mix of sweat and rain, but then almost as if the weather was trying to tell us, there were turtles coming up on the beach, the sun came out. Elina, Sophie and Caroline got sent out to look if there were any turtles on the beach. They had not walked more than 3 meters, before they saw one and shouted for the rest of us to come. The turtle had come up on the beach just beside our hiding area. We observed her for a while, all of us ready to go in if she either laid or decided not to and therefore went back to the water, but she sure took her time. After some time Jazzy and Caroline moved closer to her to have a better view while  the rest of us stayed and waited, and waited, and oh yeah waited some more. We started joking that she better lay after making us wait this long, little did we know that we were about to see three turtles lay today. Then finally after 2 hours with walking around, making body pits and digging a potential nest, she had found a place, she liked and dug a nest and started laying her eggs. While she was in her trance popping those ping pong balls out, we measured her, checked her id-number and did other data things. It truly was amazing to be able to witness; you could even see her contractions. When she started to cover her eggs and camouflage, we moved back to give her space. As we were sitting and waited for her to go back to the water, we started looking forward to lunch, the time was already over 12 o´clock, and we had begun to feel hungry and a bit dehydrated, but our water was on the other side of the turtle and we still had a long walk back to base, so we wanted her to hurry up. Then Caroline went for a little walk but came back quickly afterwards, there was another turtle on her way up. This turtle had an attitude, she made her way up, quickly found a spot, dug a nest and started laying her eggs, and then buried them again all within minutes, ʺthat’s how it’s doneʺ. We then headed towards base, yes we truly thought, we were hiking back now, but we should have known better… As we walked back and scanned the beach once again, Sophie and I spotted a turtle in the water, at first we thought she was on her way back to the water but no, she was heading up. We all went behind a tree to hide so she wouldn´t get disturbed. From here we had a clear view towards her and could excitedly observe her. She didn´t really seem to like the place, and it looked like she would go back to the water, so when Jazzy told us to, we all sprinted towards the turtle, we still wanted to measure her even though she didn’t lay her eggs. But this turtle was desperate, so we only ran for 5 meters before she went back, and we all quickly had to sit down, we were now really close to her and had to sit completely still. The turtle went over a laying tree and then dug her nest, wherein she laid 164 eggsǃǃ No wonder she was desperate. We didn’t see 5 turtles and 14 dolphins as Sophie jokingly said in the morning, but we saw 3 turtles nest and we were more than happy about that even one would have been amazingǃǃ