Trinidad And Tobago Day Eight: Another Morning With The Leatherback Turtles

Trinidad And Tobago Day Eight: Another Morning With The Leatherback Turtles

Trinidad Day Seven Grande Riviere turtles May 1 2019 (15 of 36)
Previous Post
Next Post

It was my last full day in Trinidad and Tobago. The sun rose   around 6 a.m. and I was up to watch it . The morning air was cooler, but with temperatures in the mid 70’s, still tropical.  I left my room at the Mt. Plaisir Estate Hotel and walked onto the beach. It was a wonderful place to welcome the new day. The crescent moon was above the tree covered mountains.leatherback turtle on beach in morning twilight

And I saw a leatherback turtle on the beach in the  morning twilight. leatherback turtle on beach

I approached the turtle which had already laid her  eggs. She  was shifting sand to hide their   location. 

Unfortunately, during  this process she disturbed the nest of another turtle.  Some of  the eggs were exposed and quickly became breakfast for the always present vultures. leatherback turtle egg on sand

I continued to watch as she followed the same ritual  as the two other turtles I saw laying their eggs the previous day.. It was still an incredible experience. Here is a link to a video I took of the turtle. turtle on beach

 Once again I was  amazed by the sight of this scene  that has taken place on these beaches for millions of years.close up of leatherback turtle

This turtle looked to be about the same size as other ones I saw.  Not very large and probably around 35 to 50 years old. The females return to the beach they were born when they are around 35 years old to lay their first eggs. They return every year and could live well over 100 years. close up of leatherback turtle

I walked along the beach and found an even smaller turtle laying her eggs. It had to be one of her first times.leatherback turtle on beach

I wanted to stay and watch  the leatherback turtle but I had to leave. I scheduled   an early nature tour of the village. I was having coffee with Piero,  the owner of the hotel,  while waiting for the guide for the tour to arrive. When he arrived,   Piero noticed that  the leatherback turtle was returning to the sea.  I quickly ran down to the beach to watch.

The large leatherback turtle struggled to make it to the ocean. She was obviously still exhausted from laying her eggs and shifting the sand to hide them. Here is a link to another video of the turtle.

I watched her finally reach the water and disappear under the crashing waves. Soon a few of her offspring will join her. Only a few of the almost 100 eggs she laid will survive. The females will someday return to this beach of their birth. The males, once they enter the ocean, will never return to land. They will swim the vast oceans of our planet for a century. Being able to watch this  was another wonderful experience, one I will never forget. Here is a link to a gallery of some more photographs of the turtles. Trinidad and Tobago Turtles May 1 2019. 

Changes in Latitudes began when I was looking at a photograph of a sea turtle swimming underwater. I had such a strong feeling for the beauty of this ancient creature, at home in the sea. On the spot, I wanted to swim with that turtle. I began to imagine a character who would do just that.     Will Hobbs