Enjoy reading what happened to our Marine Biologist Kikka since she started her Internship at Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu in May 2015.
When I applied for this internship I was certainly not expecting to spend most of my time receiving “nesting alert” calls in the middle of the night, searching for green sea turtle nests and releasing hatchlings back to the ocean.
This is why I truly believe best things happen when you least expect them!
Every evening I now make sure all is ready before heading to my bed. What is needed? A handbag with my camera, the room keys, a filled water bottle and… the worst outfit available. Nesting turtle alert? Here I come!
2015 is a record-like year for Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu: we never had so many turtle nests at the same time. Since January 2015 we have found already 12 (!) nests at our beautiful beaches. Yes, you have read well… 12!
Amongst all these unforgettable experiences there’s one especially close to my heart.
On May 20th a massive green sea turtle came for nesting in a rather unusual location: right in the middle of the water sport beach. I immediately felt that this particular individual (registered as GR362) was going to provide me with priceless emotions, even just because of her eccentricity. Sea turtles usually prefer to nest under the vegetation or in sheltered places. She does not. She is special! I was happy that Chiara was with me since she has witnessed so many nesting events before.
2 weeks later here I am alone and fully in charge of the Nest Protection Program (since Chiara moved to Coco Bodu Hithi). It’s June 03rd at 04:00 am (and the night before I had to jump out of the bed at 5:00 am to look after a nesting turtle), when I receive again the famous “nesting alert “call from my tireless colleagues of the Security Department. The half-awaken part of my brain register the precious information: in front of villa 27 a turtle has just came out of the water.
While running towards the beach I manage not to forget to call the Reception since some amazing guests I spoke with the day before insistently asked to be informed ANY time in case of turtles nesting activity. They so much wanted to experience this spectacle of nature and they had clearly warned me: “Please, we would get angry if you don’t call us!”
Perfect: when the going gets tough the tough get going! Few minutes later I’m at the beach under a scenic moonlight and the guests join me. What to say… their sincere smile is worth my awakening! Together we observe in silence a beautiful green sea turtle during the long and exhausting nesting process and my heart stops beating as soon as I realize she is the same one I saw nesting with Chiara 2 weeks before on May 20th!
She is truly exhausted: 3 long hours to accomplish her mission, considering it takes 15 minutes only to lay the eggs. How many? 130! This confirms it’s her second consecutive nesting event since upon the first one, green sea turtles usually lay a lower number of eggs (80-100 according to Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu files).
My concern quickly turns to the rising tide: if salt water reaches the eggs, the chance is high that they become spoiled. My colleagues are ready to help me at relocating the nest in a safer place by carefully moving the eggs one by one into a new egg chamber.
The guests are of course still with me, a truly ecstatic expression on their face. Only few hours later they will have to take the seaplane transfer to go back home! It’s hard to explain how I feel; not only the strong emotion of having encountered the same nesting female but also the priceless chance to share my love for the ocean and its creatures with fantastic people.
There is nothing better, nothing that is worth more to me than making people happy and more aware of marine life!
The success of our Nest Protection Program is the result of a great team work.
A big shout out first of all to our beloved green sea turtles for visiting us so often, to our Security Team for their tireless effort at monitoring the beaches at night, to the Marine Biology Team (past and present) for being ready to jump out of their beds at any time and to all the associates of Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu for their amazing commitment at protecting their island and its inhabitants!
POST SCRIPTUM: before this post was published I luckily had the chance to add the latest news. On June 14th turtle GR362 came for nesting again, laying 122 more eggs in front of villa 24. This is the very first time we manage to identify and register a sea turtle on her 3 consecutive nesting events: a valuable scientific data and of course one unspeakable emotion!