We all are a witness to
"I think the world is glorious and lovely as can be. The birds and bees and blossoms bring sweet messages to me"
The turtle that flies
The leatherback turtle is considered to be the largest of the turtles.
Once in the water, the male leatherback never returns to land. The females come ashore to lay their eggs and they do so several times in a season at intervals of one to two weeks. They lay about 100 eggs at a time and average about five times a laying season. 500 turtle eggs is amazing - they are about the size of a tennis ball and are soft and rubbery when they are laid.
Though often tried there hasn't been a successful incubation of turtle eggs. The guide that took us on our tour of the beach looking for a turtle that has come ashore said that they might migrate thousands of miles over their years at sea.
Instead of a shell they have a more flat rubbery leathery-like shell with front and back flippers that were surprisingly large and powerful. Their main diet is jellyfish
An adult leatherback turtle weights around 1,500 pounds and is about 6-1/2 feet long. The largest recorder turtle was over 2,000 pounds and about 8-1/2 feet longl
That's a big turtle
The leatherback turtle is an endangered species. One might think that with several hundred eggs being laid by a mother turtle they would soon fill the oceans. It is estimated that one hatched turtle in a thousand reaches maturity.
Surviving in a world full of predators and environmental hazards
On the beach we were taken to, there is a major effort to keep it clean of debris and to make it less accessible to the public. Many volunteers commit countless hours to monitor the environment so these beautiful animals have every opportunity to populate.
Our picnic before dark waiting for the arrival of the turtles to lay their clutch of eggs
This little park just off the parking lot is a small island cut out of the dense forest. Every plant and tree are unfamiliar to me and the variety is astounding.
Wild vines cover the trees in a leafy skirt
As it grew darker, fireflies came out and as they moved through the trees you had a feeling that in the darkening depths of the glade there were many eyes looking at the strange creatures that have invaded their privacy.
The urge to walk back into the trees was irrepressible but I knew how dangerous that could be. There are many varieties of poisonous snakes on the island and in the fading light with massive vegetation one could easily get lost and spend an unpleasant night or two wandering around.
As it darkened, a conservation officer talked to us about these beautiful creatures that fly in the oceans of the world
It was a starry lit moonless night
We walked through the soft sand half stumbling as we closely following those in front. The guide led us to a mother turtle digging her sand nest. She alternated her hind flippers as they took turns scooping out cupped flippers full of damp sand until she had a 12" diameter hole about three feet deep. The turtle couldn't see the red light the guide used to illuminate her.
The first delivery
When she had finished her hole she began laying her eggs. The guide said that once she starts laying she is in a trance and flash cameras or touching wouldn't bother her.
It's OK to touch
Nettie taking her turn feeling the smooth soft leathery back
Even stroking her head was acceptable. As her eyes wept and you gently touched her you couldn't help but feel connected to this wonderful mammal with wings.
A peaceful delivery
Everyone was captivated by this special moment
Muffed comments of "how beautiful" were expressed by all