Worth the wait!
Trip Start Jul 21, 2009
147Trip End Apr 28, 2010
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Although we´re in the right season, we knew ahead of time that we wouldn´t be there during one of the mass arrivals -- they´re expecting the next group around the 8th of this month, after the full moon passes.
After the presentation, we set out for a bumpy, hot ride to the beach
After the last hatchlings were making their way towards the waves, the guide got a signal from the ranger, and we quickly made our way down to the beach. On the way, we passed fresh tracks in the sand -- earlier that evening, a new mother had made her way up onto shore and back out into the ocean.
When we arrived where the ranger was waiting, we saw a new nest hatching. The eggs are buried deep in the sand, so you don´t actually see the turtles come out of the eggs
Meanwhile, the patrolling ranger had returned back the other direction, and was signaling again. We headed back quickly, but then suddenly came to a complete stop. Up ahead, we could clearly see a turtle leaving the surf and heading up onto the beach. As a group, we paused and sat on a section of beach while the guide went to investigate. As it turned out, the signal had been for a mother coming ashore, but now there were two. We waited and watched as the closer turtle came further ashore, wandered a bit to find the best spot, and began to dig. According to the guide, the turtles nest not only on the same beach that they were born, but in the same spot -- it´s believed that they build their nest within 10 meters of the place they were born.
When the mothers were contently digging, we divided into two groups, with one group heading to each turtle
After we stood and watched her swim away, we headed back to the office. On the way back, we passed a fresh set of tracks where a third turtle had arrived and left while we were watching the first two. We also found a tiny baby turtle from a completely different nest who was trapped on the way back to the sea. In this area, crabs burrow little holes the same size as baby turtles. When the turtles fall into these holes, as this baby had done, they often become a meal. We stopped to watch the baby and cheer it on as it managed to pull itself out of the hole and head back to the water. Finally, we passed unexpectedly by yet another mother in the process of digging herself a hole. Like the others, she hadn´t been there the first time we passed by.
In all, we saw one nest hatching, three moms laying, one stray baby, two sets of additional tracks, and two basketfulls of hatchlings from earlier in the day -- it was absolutely amazing!
Well worth the wait.