Friday, 3 May 2013

Green Turtles - Copulation Recored & Photographed.

Following on from the previous nights activities and finally getting to bed at 04:00hrs I was just waking up at 09:00hrs when my phone rang advising me that another set of turtle tracks had been discovered on one of the front beaches. Blurry eyed and tired I made my way to have a look and, yes another set of fresh tracks were present but again, a false crawl as the ground was to rocky just beneath the surface of the sand. 

Turning around and looking out to sea I noticed an unfamiliar, large object in the distance and with no bins present I had to strain my blurry / blood shot eyes. I then noticed a fin splashing but the size wasn't right for a single turtle. This was taking place near a mooring buoy and memories of a turtle tangled up in rope from last year came back to mind. 

I grabbed a kayak and paddled straight out to the area but by the time I arrived at the location all was quiet. I scanned in the distance and managed to locate the object and was stunned to see 2 Green Turtles copulating at the surface. Stunned, tired, sore eyed, floating on a kayak with the strong morning sun hitting me I really wasn't awake. 

I then began cursing " why don't I have the 7D with me! why, but as luck would have it, my dry bag was with me (I always have this with me as it protects my phone and cigarettes) (very important-you know) and inside my dry bag was also the S110. 

Image above shows you a male Green Turtle clambering on top of a female, almost drowning her in the process. Image below shows the male in mid copulation with the nail on his fin clearly visible. This feature helps in identifying sexes of Green Turtles. 

This went on for bout 30 minutes in total from the time that I had actually noticed it until the male departed. I suspect that this probably went on a lot longer and probably re-continued upon my own departure. 

For me, this was a special moment to witness this at the surface. I had a probable sighting of copulation at the surface last year from the jetty but it was so distant and brief I really couldn't confirm the observation.  

Image below shows the female once the male had departed and she took a few moments to re-gain and compose herself. I must say that these Green Turtles were much more vocal than I had suspected with lots of grunts and gasps for air coming from both the male and female. 

Bouncing on the incoming waves in a kayak made getting close to them quietly  a  difficult task as the kayak slams down loudly when going against incoming swells and so these are the best shots I managed to obtain, however to actually witness this, photograph them and to be able to write about here is, what I would call a "Result" " "Back of the Net"

Sea - Turtles are proper cool you know, the more time I spend with and amongst them the more I find them interesting and the more I think I am learning the more I realise how little I know about them.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful to see this blog and hey what a unique experience. So glad some good things are still happening for you and you have the presence of mind to enjoy it. Liked the dry bag comment, I hear you!