This morning was one of my favourites. I crept out of bed, unclipped my pelican case quietly (which is near impossible) and crept down the veranda – between our sleeping habits on this expedition, which are far off in zombie land and the crashing of the waves against the champignons below the veranda my tip-toeing probably made no difference. It was before dawn and the beach belonged to me… and the nesting green turtles.
The tide was still high and I was hoping to photograph the late turtles, those that had not yet returned to the ocean after laying their eggs in the darkness of the early morning. Half way down the beach I spotted a turtle in the throws of completing her egg burying routine and managed to get some images of her returning to the ocean. The night had not yet relinquished its star embellished sky to the sun when I headed out camera and tripod in hand but by the time this turtle was on her way down to the water for a photo shoot it was harsh daylight, and she was in hurry to return to the safety of her wet world.
Further down at the very end of this particular beach the first clues of the last late turtle were the sand grains flying skywards in every direction. She was frantically covering her egg chamber and over an hour later was finally ready to shuffle down to the water’s edge. Her eyes were focused on the waves rolling up the beach and once they brushed against her scaly flippers she was gone – part of the sea in seconds.
Sadly, the rest of the day was not as eventful or inspiring. We were all exhausted and pre-occupied with our least favourite task – packing. It always takes longer than you think – especially with multiple strobes, camera housings, cameras, flashes and all the nuts and bolts in between that hold it all together. By midnight we were loading the boat with the final waterproofed bags – ready for an early start the next morning on our “Water World” back over the waves to the island of Assumption.