BABY TURTLES HATCHING AT OSTIONAL
We woke at four, I made a pot of coffee and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and we were in the car by 4:30. The only thing that could get my four kids, and not-a-morning-person husband in the car that early without a fight, was the promise of seeing baby sea turtles. Our family has been dreaming of doing this for years, and it was finally happening. We had gone a couple weeks ago,( see post herehttp://www.notcoldanymore.com/everyday-miracles-turtles/ )to see the mamas laying their eggs, so we knew how to get there, and more importantly, how special it was.
No one is sure when they will hatch, so you need to follow the Association of Local Guides of Ostional on http://Asociacion de Guias Locales de Ostional(AGLO)Costa Rica. Someone posted a video of the babies, someone else said it wasn’t current, so I called the number listed. A kid answered, maybe it someone’s cell phone, but when I asked, in google translate Spanish, if the baby turtles had hatched, I was transferred to an adult. Because she didn’t speak English I’m 85% sure that she told me that there were muchas bebe tortugas on the beach and we should meet her there at six the next morning. I asked if we could come a little later and she said earlier is better.
Watching the sunrise over the misty mountains was beautiful on the ride there, but it was the anticipation that kept everyone in great spirits. We reached the beach and couldn’t see any movement from the car, I tried not to worry that I had misunderstood or that we were too late. The waves were huge. We went to the guide booth and they assured us that there were thousands of turtles, so we paid our $10 per adult, $5 per kid, and headed to the beach.
The most important thing, the guide emphasized, and I re-emphasized to the kids, was to look before you stepped anywhere. When we got to the beach we saw why; it was covered in tiny turtles.
These were Olive Ridley turtles, each about three inches long. Each of the thousands of turtles had laid 60-80 eggs in their nest that they had dug. Remarkably, even though they may travel as far away as India, the turtles come back to the beach that they were born to lay their own eggs. The guides had marked the nests by putting a stick in the sand, and everywhere there was a stick you could go and see these fifty tiny turtles crawling over one another to get out of their hole.
Vultures hovered in trees overhead, waiting for their chance to swoop down and have breakfast as we shooed them away, cheering as each little guy was swept into the tide. The kids named some of these baby sea turtles, Slowpoke and Speedy, and as waves crashed over our feet we didn’t dare move for fear of accidentally stepping on one.
Seeing this with my kids makes it exponentially better. The Olive Ridley turtles nest in Ostional August through November. If you are in Costa Rica, it’s something you’ve got to try to do.