Day 18: Wildlife

Fri. 31st August 2012

LunchtimeWhilst Dave was diving this morning, I went for a walk along the beach and was distracted by this bird wandering through the waves. After many pictures I finally snapped him with his lunch.Hey you are in my way Thank goodness for digital cameras.

This reptile (iguana?) was sunning itself on the wooden walkway between us and our cabin.

There was a sign in the hotel advertising that it was breeding season for the sea turtles and that the national park down the road offered trips. However, the first challenge was getting to the visitors centre 16km away as no transport was laid on. Luckily, we met an English couple at lunch who had rented a car and were on around Cuba and were also interested in the turtles and they agreed to give us a lift. We met at 9pm and set off to find the allusive visitors centre. After various stops for Dave to ask for directions, as his Spanish was best, we eventually found the place. Then the trip really began.

The local Spanish guide jumped into the car owned by two Spaniards also on the trip, which set off at speed with us following. After 50km along the private park road we stopped by the sea and we were told to wait at a small hut. The guide and two local lads, who were assisting in a local research project in the Nature reserve, set off in search of the sea turtles.

Beach by torchlightWhilst waiting it was Dave’s turn to play with his camera using long exposures and waving his torch around (I am sure he would say it was more technical than that!)

After 10 minutes the call came and we set off along the beach. Luckily it was almost a full moon as we were told not to use our torches (which we had been advised to bring!). We crawled beside a bush and saw a turtle making its nest in the sand. It had already laid its eggs and was spraying sand everywhere with its huge feet to ensure the eggs were safely buried.  The turtle was then measured at one metre long and a note made of the number on its already existing tag. Once the turtle was finished it was exhausted but still found the energy to turn around and head back into the sea. It was mesmerising to watch and there is something about being on a beach in the moonlight with the sound of the waves breaking.Turtle by moonlight

Sam did a great job driving back to the hotel at gone midnight and I do not know how he managed to avoid hitting any of the birds which appeared to be sleeping on the road which flew off in any random direction when woken by the headlights or honking of the horn.

The guard at the hotel gate was not happy at being woken at around 1am and having to unpadlock the gate to let us back in.

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