|Sighting of sea turtles
July 2nd, 2002
We accompanied Octavio from the Turtle's Farm to observe the sea turtles laying their eggs on The beaches in Cayo Largo. Here are a few photos of this remarkable event follow by a detailed description at the bottom of this page.
We leave the hotel at 22h00 with Octavio to join Mike and Marguerite, two persons from Ontario who are staying at Hotel Isla del Sur and will accompany us. Under a clear sky filled with thousands of stars we go to the beach in front of where the Villa Capricho was located. We follow attentively the instructions of Octavio who explains to us how to succeed in detecting the presence of a sea turtle.
No use of flashlights! It may frighten the turtles and make them turn around back to the sea. Our eyes get quickly accustomed to the darkness, we start to observe the tracks of these giants which contrast with the white sand. Furthermore, soon we start to see the enormous oval shadows! Over a distance of less 1/2 km, we could observe 7 turtles!
These 7 turtles enabled us to observe all the steps. Some were still walking towards the beach to find the right place where to dig the nest, others were digging already, others were going back to the sea, and the main attraction... one was actually laying!
When the turtle leave the sea, one should stay away and wait quietly until they cross the beach. When they are digging the nest or laying the eggs, we could be squat down and quietly approach them from behind.
In spite of the darkness, Octavio knows exactly what each turtle is doing, it's amazing! We learn that one should not only try to see but also to listen. When the turtle starts to dig her nest, she throws sand very far using her large front flippers, the noise is very characteristic. We approach two of them to better listen and see, we receive a sand shower! hehehe. Furthermore, then when she digs the smaller hole where the eggs will be placed, she uses her back flippers, the noise is softer. When she lays, she's then motionless.
Octavio goes scouting a little farther and then runs back to tell us that a big Green Turtle is now laying! We approach her, she's enormous, more than 100 kg according to Octavio! We crawl gently just behind her. Octavio digs the sand to expose the hole where the eggs are. He then puts his small flashlight in the hole and ... a spectacular sight is offered to us! All these cute round eggs looking like ping pong balls which are falling one by one! The hole filled quickly! ... AMAZING!
When the turtle was almost finishing burying her eggs, Octavio tagged her front-right flipper before she leaves. She then go out of her huge nest, and we follow her throughout her walk back towards the sea until she disappears into the water.
We then go back to the nest to collect the eggs that Octavio will bring back to the turtle's farm for incubation. There are 117 on them, and only one is broken. We are back at the hotel at approximately 1h30 carrying with us 116 little treasures!
Those who will go to Cayo Largo in approximately two months (i.e. beginning of September) will perhaps be able to see in the pools at the farm these little baby turtles who will stay there for a little while before being released back to the sea. Long life to our babies!
This night is engraved in our memory forever ...
¡ MUCHAS GRACIAS OCTAVIO !
Click HERE to access the site of our photoalbums of Cayo Largo.