It is 1am, you have arrived in Bundaberg a couple of hours ago after finishing your classes earlier in the day. You set up the tent in the camping area close by and now you are in Mon Repos, a protected beach and conservation area that every year receives one of the most incredible spectacles on Earth. Turtle hatching.
It was always on my bucket list. Before even planning my experience abroad I used to dream of being in a remote beach watching little turtles travel to the ocean for the first time in their lives . Coming to Australia made it possible and I simply had to do it. AND WHAT AN EXPERIENCE IT WAS!
As I said, I set up my tent, covered myself in mosquito repellent and then, after a quick dinner I went to Mon Repos. This conservation area is amazing. The job that scientist, volunteers and tourists (like me) do there, it is just mind blowing.
In a small theatre they explained to us how to behave if we happen to see the turtle hatching. They also explained we might not see anything at all tonight, but I kept my hopes high! At the end of the day, we are in the wild, and can’t predict anything. It is pure nature. Thankfully I got so lucky!
After around 1 hour wait our guide picked up a message. WE HAVE A TURTLE HATCHING IN THE WEST SIDE! And off we went. The emotion and feelings that I had there I don’t think can be explained with words. I have to say that seeing those little turtles reaching the shore after an atrocious fight with the sand makes you realise how weak they are. Once they reach the surface though, they follow their instinct, and go after the light. Usually this light is the reflection of the moon in the ocean, and that sets them on the right path. Unfortunately that doesn’t always happen. The lights from the cities really confuse them, sending them in the wrong way and condemning them to death.
That is why the volunteers are there. We make sure they all reach the water so these little creatures can come back to the same beach after 30 years and make their own nest!
During the hatching a massive turtle arrived. Not gonna lie I was absolutely amazed. It was nearly 1m long! After a massive effort to find the right spot, she started to dig in the sand building her nest. It took her more than an hour, but she made it. She placed more than 200 eggs that the researchers counted with care once she left back to the water. It was, once again, amazing.
These are the kind of experiences that are just priceless. What else could I ask for? I had taken the decision of spending a chapter of my life in Australia, and not only I don´t regret, but it happens that the risk I took has paid off since day 1 with moments like this one in Mon Repos.