Red Lights on Turtle.

This tour guide was vibes.

In fact, it might be that every time I’ve gone to watch the turtles come in and do their thing, I’ve felt welcomed, informed and appreciative of the work done by the community.

Mr. Guide was very informative, I was there with young children, so we probably maxxed out at 45 minutes before heading back home but that man seemed to know all the things about all the leatherback turtles. Seems like he could have easily spoken for another 45 minutes.

5 quick facts on leatherbacks:

  1. Leatherback turtles in Grande Riviere, Trinidad and Tobago, are the largest sea turtles, reaching up to 6-7 feet in length and weighing over 1,000 pounds.

  2. Their unique leathery skin shell allows them to dive deep and hunt jellyfish, their primary food source.

  3. These turtles travel thousands of miles each year from South America, the Caribbean, and North America to nest on the sandy beaches of Grande Riviere.

  4. Female leatherback turtles come ashore at night, dig deep nests, and lay around 80 to 100 eggs before returning to the sea.

  5. Conservation efforts in Grande Riviere focus on protecting nesting sites, monitoring populations, and educating visitors to minimize disturbances and promote the survival of these incredible turtles.

Whenever I visit with these beautiful animals, my ideas settle on the 3rd point above - the massive distances that they travel every year. The tour guides do a wonderful job setting the context for where the go, but in today’s world, I’d love to see even more as it relates to their journeys.

Admittedly, I’m partly inspired by the work I see coming out of ETH Zurich in Switzerland:

Imagine an undersea drone that can provide video tracking of leatherbacks automatically. Apart from that, if the turtles are tagged (all aren’t but they try to do as many as possible), can I follow a specific one, maybe the one I take a photo of when I’m there? It’s super easy to make up ideas or demand features, though.

When I read that list, it actually makes me much less bothered that all it took for me to witness this spectacle yet again was a 3-hour drive. That’s small price to pay to participate in one of the great, still not-quite-understood wonders of the world.