Thousands of Green Turtles arrive at the beaches of Ras Al Hadd and Ras Al Jinz every year to lay their eggs in the sand. To do so they dig a deep hole with their powerful flippers. A truly moving experience!
We arrived a bit worried: all the odds for seeing turtles were against us. Turtles avoid the full moon, it had rained the day before and it was not best the season for turtle viewing. But luck was on our side and we were even able to watch various turtles at different stages of the elaborate process: digging the ditch, laying eggs, closing and eventually concealing the nest. And we even saw a few newly born trying to make their way to the sea, tumbling down the dunes. The most impressive moment is to witness the eggs dropping and piling up in the hole dug by the turtle. There were quite a few children with us and it was such a pleasure to watch them as well. They stood there completely silent, some clinging to their teddy bear, simply overwhelmed.
The tour was also very informative and the research center takes the protection of the turtles very serious. The beach is closed between dusk and dawn. Tours don’t start before 10:00 pm to allow the turtles to arrive undisturbed. Only small groups are allowed near the turtle and clear instructions as how to behave and what to expect are given beforehand.
Rule number one: no photo taking, not even videos! In the past this was allowed, without flash of course, but people often forgot to turn it off and irritated the turtle. We believe this strict rule helps to make it an even more impressive experience. No fiddling with cameras, no clicking noises, just gazing and hushed whispers.
Truly unique was also our accommodation, a container. Even though it was only a box with a bed and a small bathroom, we felt like living a palace: we had expected huts and were happy to be inside, protected from the howling wind…