09 August 2015

Releasing Green Sea Turtles

We recently went on an adventure that was a little different than other adventures I've been on in my lifetime--because this one involved wild sea turtles.

On our island, there's a conservation center that is working towards maximizing the rate of survival for green sea turtle hatchlings. Green sea turtles arrive on our beaches year-round to lay eggs in the sand (somewhat unusual, as in most other places, there are seasons for when turtles lay their eggs). This conservation center is staffed 24/7 with workers who watch for nighttime landings of turtles, mark the spots where eggs are buried under the sand, take preventative measures to discourage island dogs and other predators from disturbing the nests, and then release newly hatched turtles to begin their walk to the ocean at sunset. Controlling the time of day when the brand-new turtle makes their way into the ocean is thought to help their survival rate because lower light means that the baby turtles are less visible to their natural predators.

Taman Negara, Pulau Pinang

This conservation hosts a program that allows people to come and be a part of the sunset turtle-releasing ceremony--and you guessed it, that was our weekend adventure.

Fishing Village, Penang

Penang Boating

It's possible to hike to Turtle Beach, but it's a long, tough walk, and not for little legs, so we hired two boats to take our group of 24 out. I love a good boat ride, so I thought the 10 minute trip out to the beach was just glorious!

Turtle Beach, Penang

We arrived at the beach slightly before 4 pm, because if you want to take part in the turtle releasing, you must watch an informational presentation about sea turtles and the work that the conservation center does. The presentation starts at 4, and we crowded into the wooden room to watch the show.

Green Sea Turtle Hatchling

Green Sea Turtle Hatchlings

There was a slight language barrier for my family, as the slides and video were in Bahasa (not my best language), but the man running the show held the question and answer time in English, which was very helpful. I loved getting to see footage of mama turtles on the very beaches that we got to walk. It's fascinating to learn about these cool little creatures, though sobering to learn more about the dangers they face from the fishing industry as well as pollution and humans in general--not to mention that they have all sorts of natural predators, particularly when they are very small and vulnerable.

After the presentation, we had a good chunk of time to explore the beach before the workers deemed it was time to release the turtles, so we scattered to enjoy our own adventures. Some climbed rocks, some napped, some dipped their toes in the water while others chased ghost crabs.

Taman Negara, Penang

Turtle Beach, Penang

Turtle Beach, Penang

I spotted a tiny jellyfish in the shallows. Fun fact: Whenever I'm asked if I have a favorite animal, I always choose jellyfish. My reason? Because they are really weird and they sting people.

When the workers deemed it time to release the turtles, they brought out a bucket with six newly hatched turtles.

Most of us picked named for the baby turtles, regardless of the fact that there were 24 of us and 6 turtles. I named mine Captain Kilian Jones.

Green Sea Turtle Hatchling

Turtle Beach, Penang

Goodbye little turtles! We really hope you guys make it out there in the big blue!

*Many thanks to my friends, Kevin and Sharon, for the vast majority of these photos. They take way better photos than I do!
Rebecca said...

It is so cool to see sea turtle conservation happening all over the world! When we lived on the Gulf Coast of Florida we were on the "Turtle Patrol" where we staked out turtle nests to protect the hatchlings. Such wonderful creatures!!

Carrie said...

What a neat experience and those little turtles are so cute!


Gina said...

Wow! That sounds like it was amazing. Those sea turtles are so cute. :)

Laura Darling said...

This is amazing! Your pictures are fantastic!

Morgan @ Morgan Manages Mommyhood said...

Such an amazing experience!! So jealous, I would love to do something like that one day!!

Unknown said...

Just an amazing, one of a kind opportunity!

Suzanne said...

What a wonderful thing to participate in!


Kay R. said...

How absolutely adorable are those turtles!! We have rare turtles that come to our shores (Leather back turtle) and we do things like these to protect them when they are laying and hatching. So cool :)

Anonymous said...

So cool! I would love to do something like this!

Adriana Renee said...

The turtles are so cute! This looks like so much fun!

Shauna said...

How amazing!!! I think baby sea turtles are my most favorite animal! :)

Lisa said...

Wow, what an amazing experience!

Unknown said...

I love this! I cannot handle how cute those little turtles are! What a great experience!

AmyG said...

What an amazing adventure! What great memories you've made!

Farrah said...

Aww, that's so awesome! <3 Those sea turtles are adorable, and that's such a great opportunity! :]

Kilian Jones--any relation to Once Upon A Time? ;P

Witchcrafted Life said...

Goodness, that is such an incredibly special, beautiful experience. I'm thrilled that you got to live it firsthand and am touched that you shared it here with all of us.

Huge hugs!!!
♥ Jessica

Inge Jane said...

Wow, what a cool experience! It's nice that you have the opportunity to participate in something so special. What great memories!

Unknown said...

wow that's amazing!! Thanks for sharing your experience :)

Unknown said...

That is the coolest thing ever! Baby turtles are so adorable!! I wish I could do something like that!! Thanks for sharing your experience! I found you on The Peony Project!

Mandy said...

Thank you so very much for sharing! It was almost like I was there with you. What a precious time! Visiting you from the Modest Mom Blog party.

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