Turtles again… One of my favourite subjects!
Turtles are amongst those wonderful encounters that one can make during a snorkelling excursion, both when we go out by boat or even in our House-Reef at Soneva Fushi. Baby turtles are more of a rare encounter…
Adult turtles tend to be very territorial, settling on a reef as they are teenagers to spend there the vast majority of their life. Sea turtles live in the water for their entire life, but when when female turtles are ready to lay eggs, they do it on the shore. Obviously baby turtles are born on land! After being born, male turtles will never come back to land for their entire life.
Around Soneva Fushi we generally encounter Hawksbill Turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata), which are listed as Critically Endangered under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. But very strangely, we only had reports of Green Turtles (Chelonia mydas) having laid their eggs on the island.
When few days ago I woke up with a call from our head Housekeeper, I knew something special had happened. Guests found 4 baby turtles walking around in their garden. We immediately put together a group of 10 people and started searching all over the place. With an immense surprise, the baby turtles were not Green Turtles, but Hawksbill Turtles!!!
By 10 am, we had 36 baby turtles. By the end of the day we had 49 baby turtles, that people kept finding in the dense jungle around the villa.
After having kept the turtles in a sandy box covered with a humid cloth for the whole day, we waited sunset to release them in the ocean. This is considered the best time as it’s the time they would normally choose.
As the sun set we took the turtles to the beach, in an area far from any artificial lights, close to the edge of the reef and, one by one, released them.
As if ignited by artificial energy, they started crawling towards the waves and disappeared in the middle of the sea.
Reports say that 1 out of 1000 baby turtles makes it to adulthood, I hope one of them will come back in 20 to 30 years to lay her own eggs!
Good luck baby Hawksbill!
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