You never really know what’s going to happen in a day as a WiseOceans marine educator!
One day last month I was just popping up to lunch when Navi – the surf instructor – called me back saying ‘there’s a nesting turtle on the beach!’ Off we sprinted up the beach and there we found a beautiful hawksbill turtle searching for a spot to lay her eggs.
We ensured that she was given the right amount of space and privacy so as not to be disturbed and she soon settled on a spot under a tree at the top of the beach to begin the process.
First she dug a body pit using all four flippers, removing the dry sand that she can use later to cover and disguise the nest. Then she started digging the egg chamber. All of this took over an hour and half and she took several breaks to rests.
Suddenly though she looked a little unsettled and we could see it looked like she might leave the spot. It’s not uncommon for turtles to change their mind mid-way through nesting – perhaps the spot wasn’t quite right or too many roots from the tree? We will never know.
Before she returned to the sea we were able to check her for tags (there were none) and measure her carapace (shell) and her tracks for our records. We then watched her waddle off down the beach and back in the water, where she looked much more at home.
You might think it’s odd that she nested during the day but here in Seychelles it is not unusual to see both nesting hawksbill turtles and hatchings born during daylight hours. Very exciting for our guests (as well as our marine educators)!
We may not have had a nest here on Petite Anse this year but we have been seeing evidence of other nearby nests producing little hatchlings. They periodically come on to the beach during rough weather where we help them by taking them back out to deeper water so hopefully they can catch the right current to take them on their incredible journey.
– Charlotte –
Have a look at this short video, which captures the excitement of the day!