In just a week of working for the Marine Turtle Project I have witnessed some of the most amazing events of my 22 year life, so far. I am very familiar with North Cyprus and have been to its beautiful beaches and climbed the barren mountains, but seeing a Green Turtle hatchling rising from the sand to see the star lit sky for the first time is something I find very hard to describe in words.
When first arriving here at Alagadi I didn’t know quite what to expect, but I was thrown into the deep end on my first walk. An adult Green Turtle had emerged from the water and began its search for a suitable area to lay its eggs, making sure I could not be seen by the turtle I began to army crawl behind and watched it dig out a body pit with its powerful flippers. After around an hour of digging the body pit and then the egg chamber she started to lay her eggs, hopefully not in vain as only 1 hatchling in a 1,000 makes it to maturity (around 20-30 years old). Not only was I lucky to see a laying turtle on my first ever walk but this turtle needed a satellite attached which I watched in an almost trance like state, I will definitely be looking out at www.seaturtle.org where you can follow the movements of turtles which have a satellite.
The nesting season has now almost come to an end, with three days of no nesting activity we are beginning to accept that those types of experiences are coming to an end. However the end of the nesting season marks the beginning of the hatching season which is every bit as amazing. So far I have been lucky enough to see 36 Green hatchlings emerge from a nest and other nests with one or two hatchlings appear (these nests are expected to “boom” very soon). Once hatchlings are found and measured they can be released back to the sea, each time it amazes me how their natural instincts guide them to the vast Mediterranean Sea where they will hopefully mature into adults and return to Alagadi.
Public excavations and releases are now taking place; to book a space to come along please check this blog (www.turtleproject2010.blogspot.com) for updates or call 0090 533 879 8533 and hopefully you can experience one of nature’s greatest shows!