Well, this is it. This is what we came away for in the first place.
It has always been a dream of mine to experience wild turtles, nesting on the beach. And their little ones emerging from the sand. (I have had a couple of false starts). The entire life cycle of the marine turtle fascinates me. Only 1 hatchling, in a thousand survive. Incredible.
Our turtle experience was blessed from the beginning.
|'Mr Turtle' strokes an hatchling|
We arrived at 6:45pm. Were told we were numbers 36-44 out of 250 visitors that night. Therefore, in Group One (important to us, with our small children). We were only in the Mon Repos Conservation Park Visitor Centre for 15minutes, before we were called to walk as a group on to the beach.
The emerging nest took two hours to empty.
"Gorgeous little acrobats dancing through the sand."
All of the children there grew tired, but it was worth it.
We watched 66 flatback sea turtle hatchlings emerge from their nest in the sand banks. They were adorable! Two were selected to be lovingly caressed and photographed by the group.
(We were assured that research has suggested this has NO detrimental effect on the future survival of the hatchling).
|Source: The Age article|
Then finally, we watched in delight, as part of our group formed a corridor, with their legs and torches, as the babies made their way down to the sea.
Tired, yet elated, our group proceeded up the beach toward the centre. Mostly carrying our children. And then, we happened upon a turtle track that crossed our path. There were already 3 volunteers documenting a 106kg mother turtle, laying her 4th nest, extremely late in the season.
Even our boys, who were asking to go 'home' to bed. Wanted to stay and witness this miracle.
Our second of the night.
And here is the nesting mother we gratefully saw, as we were heading back to the Mon Repos Centre.
Remember, the beach is intentionally dark, with little interfering light, so it was difficult to get a clear picture. I hope the outline is helpful.
When we did finally return, our group was the second to last to leave the centre. We were the only ones to have the experience we did. And we were told how very fortunate we were. Although, I think each of us already had that inner understanding.
Our experience was completely wonderful. We had the perfect weather. And had taken with with us, some gorgeous new friends to share it all with.
One of my favourite quotes is:~
“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,
but by the moments that take our breath away..."
Have you had any close encounters with wildlife that took your breath away?