Sunday, August 06, 2006

Leatherback Turtle Laying & Hatching

Two terrific experiences occurred during August. The first was a three day trip to Grand Riviere on the Northeast Coast to see the leatherback turtles laying their eggs and the baby turtles hatching. We rented a car and drove four hours through the center of the island and along the coastline. The views, especially on the north coast were lovely. The road runs right along the water.
Mt. Plasir Hotel is a small charming place directly on the beach run by an Italian, Piero Guerrini.   We slept under mosquito nets listening to the waves crashing thirty feet away and ate some wonderful meals.  The first night we discovered our own turtle around 2 AM and watched her climb up the beach, dig a 5 foot hole, lay her eggs and cover them up. We were careful not to disturb her in any way and therefore could not take any pictures. The second night we saw two turtles earlier in the evening with a local guide and he explained the whole process and their life cycle.  This was a remarkable and moving experience. This small village is at the end of a long road from the developed end of Trinidad and has avoided the "Americanization" rampant there. There are plans to continue this road someday around the coast to Chaguaramas but everyone we spoke to there opposed it. We hope they are successful. Local boys and girls patrol the beach during the day to protect the hatching baby

   turtles from the vultures which circle. We were able to take some pictures of them that you see with this entry. We arranged a guide to take us into the rain forest to a waterfall. This was a wonderful hike and we enjoyed talking to our guide so much. We met his wife and family at their home in the forest. His children were all born deep in the woods without any
medical assistance and luckily not needing any. We swam in a lovely pool at the bottom of the waterfall. The next morning we regretfully drove back to the boat.
Our second terrific August event is featured in our next two entries - Carnival in Grenada!