With Indonesia’s pandemic lockdowns now a distant memory, the country has reclaimed its status as the planet’s top scuba diving destination. One of the absolute best resorts, Siladen Resort and Spa, is busy welcoming visitors from far and wide, and, of course, in this turtle mecca of North Sulawesi, there are other regular fresh arrivals—the next batch of turtle hatchlings is never far away! This month, all the cuteness was captured on film by the Siladen team, and this is what they shared with us:
Baby turtles hatching! We are excited to welcome our newest residents!
At Siladen, we are fortunate to have our white sandy beaches called home for nesting turtles throughout the year. The nests, which are called clutches, can be located in various parts of the islands. We also work with the local village to help secure the nests. If they are in vulnerable positions, they can be moved to safer locations to protect them, just after the eggs are laid. Conditions need to be carefully replicated, making sure the same depth of the nest, positioning of eggs and same distance from water when possible.
Our latest clutch, hatching just last week with 120 eggs, was relocated from the village to the Siladen beachfront at the beginning of February and these babies (we think hawksbills) are now fighting their way through the open ocean.
When sea turtles lay their eggs, they dig in the sand with their rear flippers. Female turtles come back to the same beach where they were born to make their nests. On average, depending on species, they usually lay 100–125 eggs and will nest multiple times, about two weeks apart, over several months. As soon as the eggs hatch, roughly 2 months later, the hatchlings dig out of their nest. Once they emerge, using the natural light horizons along with the white crests of the waves, the tiny turtles hurry to the sea. Once arriving at the surf, they begin what is called a “swimming frenzy” and make their way into the open ocean.
When the turtles hatch at night on Siladen, we must dim the lights near the dive center so they can find their way. If hatching during the day, we try to ensure a smooth path into the water. After entering the ocean, the hatchlings of many species of sea turtles are rarely seen for 1 to 3 years. These are referred to as the “lost years.”
We are now counting down to our next hatching, with 168 eggs in the clutch, and the due date should be sometime in the beginning of May! Siladen is located in Bunaken National Park where the turtles are protected. We are thrilled to be in one of the best diving areas in Indonesia and help these amazing creatures live in safety.
Read more about DPGers’ amazing experiences at Siladen Resort in “Seduced by Siladen” by Anita Verde, “Wall of a Time: Wide Angle at Bunaken National Park with Siladen Resort” by Beth Watson, “Freediving the Magical Depths of Siladen” by Pepe Arcos, and “Fine Diving and Dining at Siladen Resort” by Joe Tepper.
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