May 3, 2012

Turtle Watching

Last weekend, the SO's took our annual trip up to Levera Beach on the Northern side of the island to watch the Leatherback turtles lay eggs.  There were about 25 of us who braved the 2 hour bus ride along windy roads and luckily there were no vomiting episodes.  Although people were popping Dramamine like it was candy along the way. 
A bus full of SO's...and SOMEBODY doesn't look too thrilled to be on it!

The Leatherback Turtle is the 4th largest reptile on the planet behind 3 crocodiles.  It is critically endangered and a research program called OCEAN SPIRITS has made it their job to help keep these beautiful reptiles around.  Grenada is home to one of the largest nesting grounds for Leatherback turtles in the world. When I asked the researcher how many turtles they have come up to nest per season (a season is from April-June) he said on average they have about 900 nests!  Each nest can have about 100-120 eggs but unfortunately only 1 out of 1,000 Leatherback babies will reach adulthood.  No wonder they are critically endangered!  The researchers from all over the world spend almost every night out on Levera Beach counting eggs, tagging Momma turtles, and keeping egg poachers at bay.  Talk about a cool job. 

Of course, we took this trip without knowing for sure if we would actually see a turtle, but we were in luck.  We got to see the whole process of a Momma turtle laying her eggs, covering them up, and making funny swirling things in the sand to ward off predators.  On our way back to the bus, we saw two more turtles coming up onto the sand.  What an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience this was!
**We couldn't use flash photography and only red lights were allowed.  And a special thanks to Laura Conley and Emily Vacek for some of these great photographs!
Big ol' Momma Turtle!

Researcher catching and counting the eggs.

See I was there!
I'm so glad that I got to go.  This is definitely an experience I will never forget.  Do I really have to leave this island in a week and a half?


  1. Stephanie! I am so jealous/envious of you! I would have loved to have seen this! Glad you got the experience, though. Must have been similar to watching Donnatello in our own backyard minus about 115 eggs.

    Love you and looking forward to your homecoming even if you aren't.


  2. Please sign this petition and let others know about it. Sorry to post this here but I didnt know how else to get it to you