Heroes in a Half Shell
Ras Al Jinz Travel Blog› entry 7 of 12 › view all entries
"Not all those who wander are lost". J.R.R. Tolkien
After scuba diving, we went back to Joel and Tina's to get ready for our camping trip. We pick them at their school, with the car loaded and we head out of town to Ras Al Jinz We are staying at a “camp” which is more like a ancient motel, with huts covered in grasses.
This center is relatively new, having not been here just over a year ago. The Oman govt is trying hard to protect the endangered turtles that come daily, year round to lay eggs on this 45 km stretch of beaches. One must now purchase a pass to enter, and viewing is strictly supervised by guides. We are part of one of 3 groups totally 75 people, who will view the turtles this evening. Cameras are strictly prohibited, as are flashlights. We are guided by the guide's flashlights, to a turtle they have found on the beach. We must wait until the turtle lays its eggs and starts to bury them, then, only then, are we allowed to view them.
Turtles will come every 3 years to this beach, to lay eggs roughly three times, over a three week period. Then they wander in the ocean traveling across the ocean to Fiji, the Phillipines and other countries. Each time they will lay 100 eggs. The sex of the baby turtles are determined by the temperature of the sand they are laid in. 28 degrees and down, they are boys, 28 degrees and up they will be girls. This batch, will be girls, the guide tells us. After viewing the turtle for some time, we are lead to a hatchling. It is making its way to the water. It is tiny, just a bit bigger than a golf ball in circumference, we hope that it makes it....only 3 or 4 out of 1000 will make it back to this beach to lay its own eggs.
At this point it's 11pm, we have been there for nearly 2 hours, and we are lead back to the center. As with all good money making ventures, we exit through the gift shop back to the car. We go back to the camp, for a quick nap, as we are coming back to the turtle center for their dawn tour. We are there at 4am. At 430, a turtle is finally sighted, and we are lead on the tour again. This time, since in the morning hours, the turtles are less sensitive, we are allowed to take photos without flash. We are also allowed to watch as the turtles lay their eggs in their giant nest that they have dug. This morning, another turtle is also spotted. Our guide calls her a naughty turtle, as she has also accidentally dug up another turtle's eggs. She has abandoned it, and is digging another. We help to cover up the eggs, in hopes they will hatch in two months. We also get the opportunity to see the turtles crawl back to the ocean, it's an amazing sight. They leave tracks that resemble car tires. Tina tells me, the first time they saw the tracks, they were furious, thinking someone was driving up and down the beach on top of the nesting sites! We take a walk through the beach area to watch the sun come up, before crawling back into bed for a few hours.