I am an undergraduate from the University of Exeter about to enter into 3rd year. Initially, the thought of spending just over 8 weeks out on the project seemed daunting, but now, a month in, I wish I could stay much longer!
In the last week alone I have scuba dived, been nursing and owl and cuckoo chick back to health, snorkelled with Green Turtles, been ‘beach boss’ and managed night patrols, flipper and pit tagged turtles, taken turtle biopsy samples for genetic analysis, observed a necropsy of a dead turtle, identified and caged nests during the day, and so much more! At the project you are encouraged to get involved with as much as possible which has allowed me to pick up all sorts of new skills, experiences and knowledge.
My favourite night was also one of the busiest I have had so far. As soon as I stepped onto the beach a Green Turtle appeared and throughout the rest of the night there were at least two turtles per person on the bay at any one time. It is fascinating to watch the nesting mothers digging there body pits with the brute strength of their flippers then, delicately, and ever so precisely carve out their egg chambers with their almost ambidextrous hind-flippers. That night, 3 green turtles nested and I got to share my excitement with a small group of tourists who were just as thrilled as I was when the female began laying her eggs.
I did not know much about sea turtles before I came out here, but I now feel confident answering any questions from the public about their ecology and biology and have quickly become very aware of the threats that face them and the research and conversation efforts that have/are being put in place to mitigate these effects.
I feel privileged to have been a part of the conservation of sea turtles and the ongoing research produced from this project. I will definitely be back next season!