So last week we ended the post with the big kids releasing baby turtles in the afternoon. We spent that evening taking some sunset photos before we were restricted from being on the beach. Then, after dusk, our movement on the island was limited to the dining room and large surrounding deck until they came to tell us a turtle was laying her eggs.
I love this shot of my sweet family...on the beach in Malaysia....waiting for sea turtles to come ashore. Seriously, sometimes it still seems surreal that we actually did that!
So about midnight, the park rangers came to the deck to get everyone. A turtle was laying her clutch. We could only be around her for a short time while she was in her egg laying trance so we needed to hurry. We all rushed out to the beach following the rangers and circled around the turtle. One ranger talked about the turtle and answered questions as we rotated around her so that everyone got a chance to see her laying the eggs. The second ranger took her measurements, assessed her health and removed harmful barnacles. The third ranger gathered and kept a count of eggs as she laid them. It was incredible!
You can see a barnacle right on top of her head. If left alone, the barnacle would cause cancer-like cells beneath it that are harmful to the overall health of the turtle.
Here is part of what was gathered from our mama turtle. We had to leave before she came out of her trance so the rangers finished up with collecting her eggs as she woke, filled in the hole, and returned to the sea.
Then we took some of that day's hatchlings and took them to the beach to be released.
Then we were all sent to bed as we were required to stay in our rooms until 6am. Before falling asleep, I remember thinking it had been such a wonderful and amazing day. However, I just couldn't shake the feeling of Thys learning about the big kids holding and releasing baby turtles and how he would be upset. Before closing my eyes, I prayed that God would please do something to make it okay with my gentle Thys' heart.
The kids were up early (despite going to bed at 1am) and this is what we found right outside our bungalow! She was a long way from the beach. She was tired (most likley already laid her eggs somewhere) and was trying to get back to the beach. Sea turtles come out to lay eggs at night since their dark colored backs absorb sunlight and they get overheated.
We needed to be to the dining room in about 10 minutes for breakfast and to catch our boat off the island. While we were watching her a lady come out of her bungalow and was watching with us. Suddenly, she exclaimed and reached down to the ground a few feet away from her. A tiny turtle! In the grass by our bungalow! We looked for others but there were none.
All the kids held the little guy...including me! I returned the tiny turtle to the woman saying that since she had found it she should be the one to go release it at the beach. She refused and insisted that the kids do it. I turned to our kids and both big kids simultaneously said, "Thys can!". I was overjoyed and in awe.
Alia and Josiah took turns carrying the baby to the beach and then gave it to Thys to release.
Arriving at the beach to release the turtle, we found adult sea turtle tracks ALL OVER the beach!
I was overwhelmed with happiness. We shouldn't be so astounded when God answers prayers but it isn't always so clear as that morning when one tiny baby sea turtle showed up in the grass just for Thys to take to the beach!
We ate breakfast and were on our boat back to the mainland about 20 minutes after Thys' turtle release. Just in time! We even had to run to catch our boat!
This is the board that shows turtle counts. We were on the island referred to as PSL (island names are at the bottom of the screen). The night we were there (29th of May) 26 turtles came to the beach, 14 laid their eggs, 1091 eggs were laid and collected and 646 hatchlings were released. SO cool! The tracks on the beach were a visual testament to how much activity there was on the beach while we were sleeping!
I hope you enjoyed your virtual trip to Turtle Islands Park, Malaysia! Now, maybe YOU should go visit on your own! It was a favorite location on our trip!
What is your favorite vacation spot? Where do you recommend we visit in our future travels?
Also, have you or anyone you know ever been to the Galapagos Islands? We are considering it for our next jaunt. Worth the trip? Interesting for kids?