The months from October to January are an exciting time for nature lovers staying at Sainte Anne Island in the Seychelles. They can unobtrusively witness the extraordinary spectacle of sea turtles laying their eggs in the sand of the beaches and coves of the island.
This October, sea turtles are returning ashore to nest in the fine white sand of the vast coves on Sainte Anne Island. Most of them are hawksbill turtles, with irregularly radiating streaks of brown or black on an amber background, but some green turtles, which owe their name to their shell colour, may also be spotted occasionally. These two species are highly protected by the authorities in the Seychelles as well as the International Union for Conservation of Nature and the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species.
There are few more dramatic or satisfying moments than those spent watching turtles laying their eggs but stringent monitoring is required to avoid spoiling this fragile natural phenomenon upon which the survival of these species depends. Very much aware of the need to protect these marine creatures, the Beachcomber property established in the island has drawn up a guest code with the support of a renowned specialist to ensure that visitors can watch these vulnerable creatures without causing them any harm.
The conservation programme is implemented by the hotel’s Conservation Rangers with the help of those running the marine park surrounding the island. They record each birth on the island, the turtles are weighed and a regular count is made.
Guests are also advised on the attitude to adopt towards the turtles, which they are allowed to observe from a distance. Nesting sites are clearly marked and lights are turned off at night on the beach so as not to disturb the burying and hatching processes.
From January to March, the guests fortunate enough to be staying at the hotel at the time will be able to witness a rare sight, that of newly hatched baby turtles instinctively heading for their natural habitat, the ocean.