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Turtle Power

Turtle tracks heading back out to the Gulf of Oman

Huge prawns & some fine skewers at Ras al Hadd

To get the chance to witness green turtles nesting on the beaches of Oman was quite special. The Ras al Jinz Turtle Beach Reserve is pretty well set out to cope with an influx of eager tourists wanting to see the turtles, and, to their credit, at least they limit the number of tourists to protect the nesting sites. We headed down to Ras al Jinz, via a second trip to Wadi Tiwi (dipped our feet in the pools to let the fish nibble at our toes… reminds me of the Red Dwarf theme tune…). Arriving pretty late to Ras al Jinz, we scouted for our BBQ spot around Ras al Hadd. To be honest, didn't think much of Ras al Hadd, but good enough to park, BBQ and head back to the beaches to see some turtles!

Sheesh, that was knackering

It all started with a quick briefing in the tourist centre at 9pm, but you could see people's anticipation mounting as we started our little walk down to the enclosed beach bay. The centre don't allow you to disrupt the turtles whilst they are “beaching” (is that the right term, or does that just apply to whales? Anyway, that's practically what they were doing). Once the turtles have arrived on the beach and are digging their nests for the eggs, the tourists are quietly allowed to gather round, behind the turtles so as not to disturb them too much. I found it quite hard to believe that the turtles didn't mind a group of 20 tourists gathering round during their most vulnerable moments, but I was one of them (guilty!).

Little turtle, scrambling it's way back to the sea

Although the process of the turtles laying their eggs was slow, it was mesmerising. Can't help but think they were shattered after all the effort going in to “beaching”, digging, laying, covering and then getting the heck out of there again!

We went back again for the 4am tour, and as the sun rose, some of the turtles were heading back out to the sea, and some of the baby turtles were scurrying across the dimpled sand like towering dunes would feel to us. Amazing little things, to think that they survived desert foxes digging, birds scavenging and the tourists trampling. Hopefully, more of those little guys will carry on making it back to the ocean with the help of the Ras al Jinz Turtle Beach Reserve's protection.

The end of the long, long journey


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