Leatherback turtles are the largest marine turtle in the world. They’re incredible creatures which can measure over 2 metres (6.4ft) and weigh close to a tonne. Their carapace is leathery and flexible allowing them to dive to depths of over 4000ft (1300m) and they can spend up to 85 minutes underwater.

Like many turtles, they will often return to the beach of their birth to lay their own eggs after travelling hundreds of miles around the world’s oceans. They’ve been around since the time of the dinosaurs but today are rated as critically endangered by the IUCN.

After dining with some of the biologists I started to make my way up the beach back to the road leading to where I was staying. Up ahead I could see the tell-tale signs of the red-tinted torches used by the volunteers to not disturb the turtles. As I got close the lead biologist of this group called me over excitedly. There was a turtle, already entranced as she was laying her eggs. At first I was taken aback by her size, and then hypnotised by her concentration. I sat there for a while until she started covering up the nest and heading back to the ocean. I have, since, had the opportunity to see various marine turtles but none of those experiences will ever compare to this, my very first time.

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Author: Steppes Travel