Thursday, November 18, 2010

17/11/10 Nesting Turtle on Mahe

Sunday seems to be turning into the camp’s day for snorkeling trips around North West Mahe. This week some of us hopped in the van and headed for the beach outside the very fancy Euphillia resort. When we stepped off the van and onto the beach we were met with what seemed to be a storm moving in. The tops of the mountains were covered by mist and the waves in the bay were capped with white water. However, none of us had snorkeled this particular reef before and were excited to explore a new part of the island, so we put on our fins and masks and headed out.
After about an hour of snorkeling and spotting nothing out of the ordinary we decided to take a break from swimming and head to a secluded beach just around the corner of the bay we started in. We washed up on shore and sat on our makeshift palm leaf towel enjoying what was turning out to be another beautiful day in Seychelles. The four of us were almost ready to pull ourselves from the beach when Mark lived up to his nick-name “hawk eye” and spotted a sea turtle nesting on the beach just nearby! Not wanting to startle the creature we watched from a distance and snapped a few photos waiting for her to bury the newly laid eggs with sand. We watched as the sea creature fumbled awkwardly in the sand until it’s job was finished and tried to identify what type of turtle we were looking at. Liz and I had just taught a lesson to grade school kids on sea turtles earlier that week and concluded that it was a hawksbill turtle based on the carapace shape and pattern, the beak and frontal lobe shapes, and the tracks it left in the sand.

When the turtle finished laying and covering the eggs, she crawled back toward the calm blue ocean and gracefully slipped back into the water and swam out of our sight. Those of us on the beach took this as our que to leave also, and armed with photographic evidence, swam back to meet the others who had been tanning on the beach to claim some well deserved bragging rights. Even in paradise its marvelous to see that before your eyes.