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A Jurassic Run

December 2, 2010

The trail is alive. Birds, reptiles and critters scurry away between the dry leaves. It’s 6 pm and sunset hour on Frégate Island, one of the lush granite islands of Seychelles and once a refuge for pirates.

Tropical, endemic birds are plentiful. Their beautiful sounds is accompanied by the roaring waves breaking ashore far below. Coconuts everywhere on the ground and shells of giant millipedes. The warm air is humid and sticky. No use wearing a shirt. “Turtle Trail” leads west and ends at Grand Anse, where the sea turtles lay their eggs this time of year. The beach seems empty, except Fregate birds and giant Fruit bats high above the tall coconut palm trees. And crabs of course.

I keep my eyes at the water for a while and sure enough, a turtle appears, slowly, carefully. The round shell looks like a polished rock but then a head pops up, to check if the coast is clear. I’m witnessing a ritual that begun long, long time ago. When the baby turtles hatch in three months they will be all on their own. Just a few make it.

Sea turtles that are born on this beach will always return back to the same beach to lay their eggs, in november, december. As I watch the turtle another crawl back into the water. Fresh trails in the sand shows that it’s been a busy afternoon.

As darkness eats its way into the trees it’s time to run back. The jungle at night can be a scary place. Strange sounds. Crazy birds scream. Larger animals watch my progress with interest. Giant land tortoises making a hissing sound from the bushes when I come too close. Sudden strong flowery scents. Sweet. Deep. Hypnotic. Next time I better bring a torch.

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