Turtle Trip

Recently I had the pleasure of going turtle watching in Grand Riviere for the first time in my life. The experience was really wonderful. I was able to learn so much about leatherback turtles and the wonders of nature. I like doing nature things, and taking pictures of nature. At the moment I have been fooling around a little more with the camera understand setting, lighting etc. So for me this even was an opportunity not only to see something wonderful, but to also continue to play with my camera. 

The beginning of the trip was quite an event, we got off to a late start for a long journey. The drive was tough we had to go through lots of dark winding roads. One of the thing to be very prepared for is motion sickness if you are susceptible to that. After about two and a half hours of driving we finally arrived at Grand Riviere.
Initially when we arrived, everyone was glad to stretch and also excited to see what was happening. There was a proper tour office with bathroom facilities which pleasantly surprised us, since we were not expecting facilities at all. The fee was a mere $15 tt for the tour. 

We started by firstly getting the ground rules of the tour. No bright lights or torches, no flash pictures and no loud noise. All of these things will deter the turtles from coming ashore or it will 
disorient them. After getting the rules for the tour we were able to view and hold some baby turtles. The baby turtles were no more 
than two inches long and felt really like leather!!! They were rough little creatures and they were ready to to swim with their little
 flappers gearing to swim. Our group also had the pleasure of releasing eight baby turtles into the water. 

After releasing the hatchlings to my amazement there were many turtles laying theirs eggs that night. For most of the night turtle after turtle was coming up looking for their places to nest. Nesting season is from March to August every year. The leatherback turtles are an endangered species so the beaches they nest on are usually cut off from public access and wardens guard them day and night. The only access to the beaches are through certified tour guides and one has to buy a licence to go on the beach as
 stated before. 

These turtles come all the way from Africa to nest on out shores. The guides informed us that turtles can reach up to nine feet in length and span from 500 – 2000 pounds!!!
The actual laying off the eggs takes 5-9 minutes but the

 camouflaging of the nest site takes up to 30 minutes. The communication between the turtles is absolutely wonderful, when some go back into the water others immediately come up and start looking for a spot to lay their eggs. 
These reptiles have been dated back to the dinosaur age and it is quite sad that they are now

Our group stayed the night because the guides told us we could take pictures of the turtles in the morning and collect hatchlings. We camped in our bus, which I must say was fun and interesting then at 5:30 am we went out to see the turtles. We were fortunate enough to see two female turtles still on the beach laying their eggs and we got some fantastic pictures. Unfortunately we did not see any hatchlings that were alive. Early predators, vultures and dogs, came out to dig up eggs and eat the hatchlings. 
The experience was a fantastic one, the turtles were amazing creatures. The group of us laughed, chatted, shared and bonded with each other in a meaningful way. I will recommend a trip like this to any nature lover or persons wanting a bonding experience especially families with kids.
Jenna Samaroo


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