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Cousin Island Special Reserve, Seychelles
The turtles are coming (but not all lay the first time round)

The turtles have arrived. Data collection is underway. Most of them will have been tagged already, so it is a case of reading those tags, measuring the turtle and if possible counting the eggs.

My first encounter was a failed one. It is a very saddening sight watching a turtle lumber around the beach, dig three chambers only to find rocks tree roots and then eventually make the tough decision to head back to sea. Lots of turtles will do this, as there are sensitive requirements to making a successful nest. They need to be able to dig deep enough and cover the nest properly without disturbance or they will not lay. I had no tripod with me after sprinting across to the site she had chosen, so got a load of slightly shaky shots, crouching on my knees, of her attempted nests.

There is a strange quietness to watching a turtle move around uncomfortably whilst I try not to get in her way. Perhaps it is the knowledge that this is a critically endangered animal, and her eggs are vitally important to her species whether she knows it or not. The filmmaker in me wants to get the best shots possible, but the animal in me just want her to go about her business and reproduce without my presence.

She’ll be back. And luckily for her she has decided to lay on Cousin, which means her nest will be clearly marked so that it cannot be disturbed by man. What kind of work is more important than that?

Liam Martin