July 25, 2014
Sue Ockwell was in Cyprus earlier this week and was both amazed and delighted to discover fresh turtle tracks and many turtle nests on one of the island’s many beaches. On Monday morning, this was Sue’s report:
“On a long stretch of beach just a few minutes’ drive from the villa where we are staying, we saw first one, then two, then simply scores of turtle nests. We saw fresh tracks from the sea where, last night, one of these ancient creatures had hauled itself from the sea and up the beach to lay its eggs.
“I’ve stayed here before and had no idea that such magical and old-as-time events were happening so close at hand. Neither had my husband, who has visited this part of Cyprus many times from early adulthood to the teenage years of his own children.
“Tonight we’re joining friends for dinner. Afterwards, we’re going to go back to the beach to sit quietly and wait, in the hope that we’ll be lucky enough to see a female turtle emerge from the waves on to the beach where she herself was born, many decades ago. What could be more exciting?”.
On Tuesday, Sue’s story continued:
“After dinner, we went back to the long stretch of sandy beach where we’d seen the turtle tracks. We sat down in the warmth of the night air, near to a group of palm trees, overlooking the sea. We watched the huge number of stars and clear constellations in the intense blackness of the night sky. We listened to the waves. We scanned the white foam of sea water gently washing the beach for signs of turtles. We chatted quietly, then dozed…so decided to return to the villa to sleep.
”But, the next morning, exactly where we had been sitting the night before, were four sets of tracks. We marked carefully the site of each nest, as we had watched a girl doing the previous day, with beach driftwood and pebbles. Perhaps as many as 400 eggs lay beneath the sand, destined to become just a tiny number of mature turtles which would return in twenty years’ time to lay their own eggs. I like to think that I will be there to see their return from unimaginable voyages across our oceans”.