Big Leatherback on the beach of Cape Three Points
1 AM in the morning we got a call from our local lighthouse guide, Joseph. â€œThere is a big, big turtle laying eggs on the beachâ€. So we jumped out of bed, grabbed our torch, and walked along the beach in the pouring rain.
First we saw the turtle tracks in the sand â€“ the size was unreal. Then the turtle itself. Never had we imagined a turtle could become so large. It was a humongous leatherback turtle in the middle of laying her eggs. The eggs are double size of the normal green and olive ridley turtles. The leatherback turtle is the biggest turtle species in the world. It can reach over two meters in length, and weigh up to 900 kg. Unfortunately, the population of leatherback turtles has been quickly dwindling. We were lucky to see it.
76 eggs to hatch in February 2017
The turtle laid 76 eggs and then started to cover up the nest. Before heading back to sea it dug a new hole and covered it up. This, we were told, is to trick predators into thinking the eggs are in this fake nest, distracting them from the real one.
The eggs are now safely in our turtle hatchery. Expected hatching date is February 10, 2017 plus/minus a few days.