All in the short period of two days we witnessed the landing of a huge Green sea turtle mother, and the magical moment of a in Situ green nest full of hatchlings being released into the vast open ocean. It was a very impressive moment witnessing the enormous green turtle come up to lay her eggs. We were up close and personal like never before, seeing the nest dug with great love, the eggs placed and then carefully camouflaged. This was an experience that money can not buy. She will leave the eggs and never return to the nest only leaving her little legacies to return in 25-30 years to lay their own. It was great to see this impressive creature come up and allow us to share the moment with her. There are no photos of this landing as it was under the cover of darkness however definitely one for the memories. She may return in about 10-12 days so I will be hiding with the infrared camera to hope catch a shot. However I did manage to get shots of the hatchlings below.
Green turtles, like other sea turtles, undertake lengthy migrations from feeding sites to nesting grounds, normally on sandy beaches. Mating occurs every two to seven years and normally takes place in shallow waters close to the shore. To nest, females leave the sea and choose an area, often on the same beach used by their mothers, to lay their eggs. They dig a pit in the sand with their flippers, fill it with a clutch of 80 to 120 eggs, cover the pit and return to the sea. She is seen with tears running down her face, some say as she is sad not seeing her babies again, but really its the massive salt glands behind her eyes expelling the salty sea water she drinks! She then leaves the eggs to hatch after about two months. The most dangerous time of a green turtle’s life is when it makes the journey from nest to sea. Multiple predators, including crabs and flocks of gulls, voraciously prey on hatchlings during this short scamper. We luckily stop any land predators with our safe hatchery and release methods.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the next landing!