Turtley awesome

I’m not sure I’d want quite so many people gawping at my rear-end while I did this, but tonight I joined about 100 other people to watch a turtle lay her eggs.

Happily Mrs Turtle didn’t seem to concerned about having a crowd oooh-ing and ahhh-ing over her backside, and got on with popping out 106 eggs in a hole we were all crowded around.

Leatherback turtle
I’d gone to Mon Repos beach, a wildlife park just outside Bundaberg, just as the sun was setting.

Mon Repos is apparently one of the most important breeding spots for leatherback turtles in Australia, with hundreds of female turtles dragging themselves out of the sea several times during the summer to lay their eggs in the dunes.

There’s a big conservation project being run here, with rangers on hand every night to monitor the turtles’ progress and rehouse the eggs if they are laid in the wrong place.

November is the start of the turtle-laying season, so I had been expecting to wait a while for one to turn up on the beach. I hadn’t expected that wait to be almost five hours.

By the time I had watched the same DVD on turtle hatching 15 times and been talked into a coma by a warden with the world’s most soporific voice, I couldn’t be sure which parts of the evening were real, which were a dream, and which bits were a result of the rum fumes from earlier.

Measuring leatherback turtle

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