Here in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives is home to some incredible marine life. The shimmering azure waters house some of the ocean’s most amazing creatures: sea turtles. The Maldives is home to five species of sea turtles, the most common are the Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) and the Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata). Loggerheads, Leatherbacks and Olive Ridley turtles are spotted less often around the Maldives.
Meet Gonzague Zurstrassen
Gonzague is the owner of the jewelry galleria at Soneva Jani where he also showcases his designs. His work is inspired by the ocean and the marine life in the resort’s lagoon. Turtles are Gonzague’s greatest inspiration, symbolising independence, perseverance, and creativity.
Over the past seven months, Gonzague worked on a true to life bronze sea turtle sculpture. He went through numerous revisions on his labour of love until he was satisfied with the finished product. After months of hard work and travelling, he arrived at Soneva Jani on February 13, 2019 carrying the piece with him. The following day, Valentine’s Day, Soneva Jani received another gift.
An unexpected arrival
Late that night, a Green Turtle made her way to an unnamed beach on Soneva Jani’s island. Throughout the night she dug over 25 different holes for over seven hours, trying to find the perfect spot to lay her eggs. At last, she was able to lay and safeguard her eggs on Soneva Jani’s shores. Her arrival is unusual as sea turtles lay their eggs from May to June. Sea turtles usually favour secluded areas where they won’t be disturbed, but this Green Turtle chose a beach frequented by guests. Ellie, Soneva Jani’s Marine Biologist, watched over the turtle throughout her time on the island until the next morning.
She then created a barrier around the eggs to keep them safe until they are ready to hatch. Ellie and other Hosts at Soneva Jani are preparing with anticipation for when the turtles will hatch and make their journey across the sands to the sea. She has estimated that they should be hatching around Easter, a perfectly Maldivian twist to the holiday.
Gonzague’s jewellery shop will be celebrating the arrival of these hatchlings by donating 10% of the revenue from every turtle bracelet sold to the turtle sanctuary and rehabilitation centre being built at Soneva Jani with the Olive Ridley Project. Guests at Soneva Jani who would like to see the nest should contact their Mr./Ms. Friday for more information.
The beach that the Green Turtle chose as the location for her nest had previously been unnamed. To commemorate her visit and the arrival of her hatchlings the beach has been named Serendipity Beach.