Green Turtle Nests at Melina Beach!

29 03 2010

On the night of the 24th March, EFT staff said their “Good nights” and “sleep wells” to St. Joseph’s Institute International School at Melina Beach and headed down the beach towards the staff house. Minutes later a wide-eyed and out of breath Ling ran back to the resort panting “TURTLE! NESTING! TURTLE!”

She was a Green Turtle already halfway through digging her nest, and we all kept a safe distance away. In the silence of the night all we could hear were the waves and the sound of sand hitting the sea pandan tree as she made her nest. Using a red torch, we kept an eye on her progress. When she had finished laying, and was burying her eggs under copious amounts of sand Ligia, Rich and Sam measured her carapace. It was a dangerous job – the speed of the sand projected by her flippers is extremely harmful to the pores! And though the three have been picking sand out of their ears and hair ever since, it was worth it. Her carapace was a massive 103cm in length and 88cm wide!

SJII students were woken from their beauty sleep to watch her return to the sea, but this was a thorough mother they had to wait as she dug a “pit” or false nest – this deters predators that may be after her protein-rich eggs. It was declared unanimously as worth the wait as everyone got to see her make her speedy return to the sea. We underestimate female turtles. This green made a weighty ascent up to the top of the beach, dug a nest, laid her eggs, dug a fake nest, rearranged the sand in the supra-littoral zone, and still had the energy to make a swift and graceful exit that one would expect from something half her size!

Back to the big ol' blue. Photo by Jeffrey Kong| Asian Geographic

A silent audience. Photo by Jeffrey Kong| Asian Geographic

We were lucky enough to have Asian Geographic Features Editor Jeffrey Kong accompanying SJII, and he took a couple of reference shots for ID purposes. Even he was surprised when he had to keep up with the turtle to get a shot! We want to thank Jeffrey for documenting the turtle, and our immediate relocation of the 119 eggs that make up nest 67 – the first of 2010!

One egg, two egg, three egg, four. Photo by Jeffrey Kong| Asian Geographic

So ladies and gentlemen, the nesting season of 2010 has officially begun! Lets hope that it is as successful as last year! Thanks to all the schools so far for their kind donations, especially to HKIS for helping to build this years hatchery 🙂 Photo’s of this to follow soon!

First nest of the season. Photo by Jeffrey Kong| Asian Geographic

Happy nesting!

Sam

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