Turtles are moms too – Costa Rica
It is as if a large tractor trailer has passed over the beach. But no. That cannot be. Your guide points and you turn toward the sea to see a very large oval sprouting appendages climb laboriously from the water over the beach and upward above the high tide line into the soft sand. A prehistoric creature, silent, quiet, its head slowly pivots from side to side in time with the huge flippers and legs and the stumpy tail. It looks awkward as it crawls aiming upward to choose a place. It is a slow process.
The creature, a leatherback turtle weighing upwards of 1000 pounds finds a spot and begins to dig. It is the epitome of patience. You want to help. But you have been warned, be as quiet as possible, observe but do not touch, absolutely no photographs, give them space and marvel at a wonder of nature.
One hundred or more eggs are laid in the large hole. She makes no sound. Just a slight movement as each egg is expelled into the large nest she has built. Her eyes leak tears which run in rivulets down her cheeks to fall in the sand. Then tail twitching and flippers working the eggs are completely covered with the fine sand. The women hold hands, the mothers relate in an instinctive manner, bonding in the ritual of giving birth.
Job done, she turns and lumbers back to the sea. There is a joyous flip, almost a jump as she reaches the surf and rides a wave back to the ocean. She rises and falls, now graceful and balletic in movement as the ocean welcomes her again.
We see eight more turtles come to lay their eggs on Tortuguero in Costa Rica. We wait as we cross paths with one, yielding to her, giving her space to make her journey above the tide line to build her nest, to lay her eggs, to do what nature says she must.
Her tears are natural. The weeping is continuous to clear the sand from the turtle’s eyes as she digs and covers up the nest. To every woman they look like the tears, the pain of childbirth.
Moving, touching, incredible sight, UNFORGETTABLE.
The Meander: When the eggs hatch only about ten percent make it to sea. By law, indigenous populations are allowed to harvest a portion of the eggs and there are the poachers too. Then as the hatchlings try to get to the sea many are eaten by birds. It is just so.