After Unawatuna, Anna, Pip and I headed to Turtle Watch Cabana, just outside Tangalle. To our surprise, the host at our Cabana was a ‘nest protector’ as part of the community run project, Turtle Watch. The project is dedicated to providing a safe and guarded nesting environment by employing local patrollers to watch the nests 24 hours a day. To see the passion of these local people for all marine life was a real inspiration…then to see the baby turtles for ourselves was an experience I will never forget!
A couple of hours after arriving we were invited to a night watch where we were lucky enough to witness two baby turtles make their way to the ocean, guided only by the light of our host’s head torch. All three of us were in awe and couldn’t believe our luck to experience such an amazing sight.
The next morning our host excitedly came and told us about a whole nest of baby turtles who were about to make the same journey to the ocean…this was even more amazing!! At first we were a little concerned that the guide seemed to dig the turtles up out of the sand, but it was clear to see that he only had their interests at heart. We watched what must have been about 20-30 baby turtles scramble over shells half their size and make their way to the shoreline. Some sped to the sea, while others seemed to get a bit lost amongst the sand, and unfortunately, amidst the many plastic objects that had washed up on the shore.
While this was an amazing experience, I can’t help but feel that it is a little tainted with the underlying environmental threat occurring to the marine life in this beautiful country. As I pursue photography, this becomes a growing issue that I feel compelled to document.