Yesterday night, the seventh of October, a Hawksbill turtle came back on shore at Blue Bay Beach to lay her third nest of eggs of this season! Friday evening the happy hour of Blue Bay was in full swing, pizza, drinks, live music and ambience, however many guests did not know that a special phenomenon was taking place on the other side of the beach.
Just before sunset, Ard Vreugdenhil and his colleagues of Sea Turtle Conservation Curacao got ready for a big night. Two weeks ago a hawksbill turtle had come ashore to lay her eggs and there was a good chance that she would do it again tonight! The designated area for the nest was cleared, beach beds were set aside and everything was set up as optimally as possible for the turtle. This is especially important for this turtle as she is missing one of her flippers and can't properly dig a hole for the egg chamber, luckily Sea Turtle Conservation knows exactly how to help her.
A little after eight it was time, the turtle came ashore. This happened on a small adjacent beach, away from the noise and light of the party. For successful nesting it is extremely important that no light was used, which could cause her to become stressed and decide to abort the egg-laying process. With the help of special red light, that does not disturb the turtle, Sea Turtle Conservation was able to successfully help the mother turtle lay her eggs. In total a stunning amount of 164 eggs were laid. A whole nest full. Due to the danger of flooding, the eggs were relocated to the turtle nest area on Blue Bay. Here the eggs can safely develop into baby turtles.
Some of the happy hour guests were lucky enough to witness this special moment and Ard and Sea Turtle Conservation were happy to answer all questions they had. Did you know that it takes up to two months for the eggs to hatch? And that the temperature of the sand determines whether the turtles develop into a male or female? It was an informative evening. In two weeks we will be there again to see if the mother turtle comes back for a fourth nest.
If you want to know more about these special animals, Sea Turtle Conservation is happy to tell you more: www.seaturtleconservationcuracao.org You are also welcome to come and take a look at the coral restoration foundation BRANCH coral in Blue Bay. www.branchcoralfoundation.com Together we are committed to a healthy reef full of turtles and corals.
We would like to thank Blue Bay, Dive Division and Brass Boer Curaçao for their cooperation and dedication in protecting this endangered species. May this turtle return for many years to come to create the next generation of turtles.