Life of the Prehistoric Leatherback Turtle
Annually, tens of thousands of nature and wildlife enthusiasts flock to two of the largest Leatherback Sea Turtle nesting sites in the world, Matura and Grande Riviere. Road Trip TT made its yearly visit for the humbling and amazing experience of Leatherback Sea Turtle nesting or as we call it “Turtle Watching”.
Scientifically called the Dermochelys coriacea, the Leatherback Sea Turtle unlike other sea turtles that have hard bony shells; has a flexible and rubbery shell. Every year from the period March to September female Leatherback turtles swim to shore during the nesting season to perform their gruelling mission to lay between 65-115 eggs between 7-11 times during the six month nesting period.
After the two hour journey along the North Coast, 50 Roadtrippers arrived at Grand Riviere aka “Turtle Village” for our tour. A short walk along the long sandy shoreline took us to our very own “Mama” Leatherback. There were a few rules we had to follow in order to witness this important life ritual of these endangered prehistoric reptile species. Standing under the star laden, black velvet sky everyone listened intently to the information being shared by the passionate tour guide while the world’s largest turtle skilfully excavated its egg chamber in the sand.
After a few minutes the time came for everyone to get an up-close and first-hand view of the laying of the eggs. At this time onlookers were permitted to take photos and videos of the turtles, feel the leathery shell and even the taste the thick salty substance being emitted from the turtle’s eye during its trance state. The entire reproduction process will soon end here, two months later when the hatchlings emerge from the sand.
After such precision and mind blowing display of instinct, “Mama” covered her nest and returned to sea. Without a doubt most persons prayed that she will survive the natural and human dangers of marine life to make her journey halfway across the world in the next 2-5 years to do it all over again. It is unfortunate however that only 1 in 1000 of these hatchlings survive to adulthood to return to the very same beach they were born to continue the life cycle.
The experiences with Road Trip TT are endless…. We can soften your hearts by bringing you up close and personal with nature’s most marvellous creatures and picturesque sceneries or we can make it race from a burst of adrenaline. Adventure awaits, Come get it!