Saturday, 20 December 2008

Take nothing more than photos, leave nothing else than footprints...

Heron island (whose credo I citate above) should be called Turtle island, this was my decision after 2 days on the island:-) Right now around 120 turtle ladies come to the island after dark. Early in the morning one can view their tracks in the sand-resembling the tracks of a tractor. In total 2 kind of turtles come to nest here from late October till February every year: the green turtle and the loggerhead turtle.

Turtles come out of the water after sunset and dig a hole in the sand (usually under a tree), then they lay around 100 eggs at a depth of 80 cm (this procedure can take up to 4 hours). Once the hole is covered the turtle returns back to the sea. 2 weeks after she will come back for a new clutch of eggs. It is sad but only 1 out of 1000 eggs make it to maturity. The rest does not make it out of the egg or its eaten somewhere on the way...While walking on the beach one can find the eggs rests, eaten most of the time by the birds.

As there is a big difference between low and high tide, we were told to make a walk at 6 am to see some turtles on their way back to the sea. Between 6 and 7 am the day after we counted some 10 turtles, some looking like rocks in the water (waiting for the high tide to get out of the island reef), some stuck at the stone shore, two even still busy laying the eggs.

In the twenties turtles did not have an easy life: after the turtle-can factory closed, the island became famous as resort offering turtle riding!

No comments: