It’s the very end of summer vacation in these parts; government schools began this week and our children’s school will start up again on the 19th. For a “last hurrah” and in celebration of Elsa Ruth’s 8th birthday we are traveling to the coast this weekend.
Hopefully our timing will be perfect to spot some sea turtles! This is the season when the females lay clutches of about 100 eggs several times over a period of three months. From reported sightings this week, we understand it is also the very beginning of the time when the babies emerge and scramble back to the sea.
Hip-hip-hooray for our city’s public library where we checked out some books on turtles. Why should it surprise me to find one by an author from my homestate (Minnesota!) on the shelf?
Here are some interesting things we have learned:
- Sea turtles have been around 150 million years – since the time of the dinosaurs!
- The stretch of coastline where we are going has been a nesting area for Loggerhead and Leatherback turtles for 60,000 years.
- A mama sea turtle returns to the exact beach where she hatched (10-30 years before) to lay her eggs. (Think how many generations of great- great- great granddaughters have done this!)
- Unlike freshwater turtles, sea turtles cannot pull their bodies into their shells.
- The largest turtle, the Leatherback, can be as big as our dining room table and weigh over 1,000 pounds. Imagine seeing that emerge from the ocean!
We highly recommend this great 4 minute video clip about sea turtle survival odds.
What a very special thing it will be if we get to see one. Wish us luck as we set out with a turtle expert on Friday/Saturday night, searching for these rare creatures during low tide from 11:30pm-3:30am!
(At Ushaka Aquarium, Durban – admiring a green sea turtle)