The Atlantic Green Sea Turtles have just started to nest on the beach in Tortuguero. To start only a few turtles nest each night. In July and August at the peak or the season on a good night as many as 240 will nest on a mile of beach.
Being there to see these 300 pound creatures come up on the beach and lay their eggs is one of the most moving wildlife experiences on the planet.
Disclosure: Costa Rica Expeditions, a company my wife, Yolanda, and I founded in 1978, owns and operates a lodge in Tortuguero. That said, the reason I love turtle nesting is not because we have the lodge. The reason we have the lodge is because I love turtle nesting. Here's why:
You stand just a few feet from her as she digs her nest and lays her eggs. Then you watch her return to the ocean. You have experienced part of her lifetime adventure...
Many years ago, she broke out of her egg, climbed up through the warm sand, and stumbled down to the ocean shore -- through a gauntlet of predators. Perseverance was the first chapter of her life.
She is the one in 10,000 who survived.
She roamed through thousands of miles of ocean before she returned to this very beach where she was born at least 25 years ago. Now she's big, protected by her big shell and a long life of adventures have made her strong.
For her species, it's been going on for 11 million years. Hundreds of thousands of generations of her relatives all had to survive to bring her to this place.
She'll emerge from the ocean, dig her nest, lay up to 140 eggs, cover her nest, perhaps did a false nest to throw off predators and return to the ocean, where natural and man-made dangers await her.
But for now, her cycle of life has begun anew.
The first time I watched a turtle nest on the beach at Tortuguero over 30 years ago I went to bed wondering. Where she is now, and how is she's doing? Every time since I wonder the same thing.
For reviews of Lodges in Tortuguero with turtle nesting programs click here.
For information on prominent worldwide nesting sites and seasons, click here.
For interesting facts about Green Sea Turtles click here .