If you ever wondered what happens during turtle nesting season in the Seychelles, call off the search! Here is everything you need to know – and then some.
Curieuse Island is home to some of the most important Hawksbill nesting beaches within the Seychelles. This makes the island a highly valuable source of data on turtle nesting behaviour.
This is where GVI volunteers play an integral part in their conservation. Volunteers actively patrol the beaches between peak season (usually November to January) to help prevent drops in Hawksbill numbers and gather invaluable data on this vulnerable species.
Early Morning “Wurtles”
During the core season, the main beaches are checked at least four times a week. This means more chances to catch some incredible live turtle action! The patrols start at various times throughout the day lasting from either 3 to 4 hours all the way up to a full day of "wurtling". Our favourite is the patrol to Grand Anse. It is the longest and the one with the earliest start, but the rewards are worth it. Even the most stringent night owls will soon be won over by the epic scenery and awe-inspiring sunrises.
Turtle Surveys – It’s Totally Radical, Dude
In the beginning, you will spend the first few patrols observing your survey leader. This is where you will learn how to do and watch out for the following:
- Turtle tracks
- Proper nest excavation
- Measuring for hatchling success rates
- Locating previously tagged nests
- Nesting adult turtles
But before you know it, your noob phase will be over. Soon you will be happily digging out nests, counting eggs by the dozen and even opening the un-hatched eggs to see what stage of development they reached without getting grossed out.
One of the most awesome and rewarding experiences you can have on Curieuse Island is if your team encounters a nesting turtle. If you are able to approach without disturbing her, you will be able to help measure her, check for tags and mark her nest. Ultimately - the best job in the world!
Expect the Unexpected
Sometimes our volunteers have all the luck and get to experience some rare occurrences around the island. Like coming across an unmarked Green turtle nest! The Greens are rarely found in the inner islands due to historical over-hunting. So when they are spotted it gives you the rare opportunity to get up close and personal with these amazing creatures.
The Bigger Picture
So you may be wondering, what happens at the end of your volunteering experience? Where does all that data go that you have been collecting?
Rest assured, it does actually end up somewhere and it is used to improve marine conservation laws. The majority of our data ends up with our field partners, The Seychelles National Parks Authority, as well as various other NGO’s from around the world.
So if you think you can handle the hard work, want to make a difference while living in a picturesque island paradise, sign up and help contribute to the conservation of sea turtles!