Sunday, February 28, 2010

Banganek turtle tour...

video

This clip was the best I could do, given the limitations of actually viewing these very tiny potentially prehistoric giants. On our recent break to Maputuland, we headed off to Banganek, which lies as the crow flies directly opposite the Kosi Bay Camp, over Lake 3. It takes forever to drive there on the 2 track sandy roads that are the norm in this area. But most definitely worth it!

We reached Banganek just as the sun was setting and then waited for our guide, Victor, a local guy that knows his stuff when it comes to fishing the deep blue and showing turtles! Firstly, when you go on a turtle tour, you go with no light. Never did I know that turtles will follow the light and that it could potentially hypnotise them to a certain extent. Which is NO GOOD! The light confuses them and then they don't know where to go. They usually follow the reflection of the moon on the ocean and this is how they know where to go. But if some plonker comes along and shines his 1 million candle watt spot, you might as well jump on the turtle and save it from it's misery! This might sound harsh, but its the truth.

The tours aren't "conservation friendly" at all, as this is a public beach and there are people fishing and you do not require a permit as you do when you visit Kosi Mouth. Any plonker can go sit or walk there and interfere with these highly sensitive breeders and their babies when they make their way down to the big blue. They say the stats are 1 out of a 1000 babies survive to adulthood. I guess it doesn't take rocket science to work out that if people are picking them up and "helping" them around, they probably wont make it. My brows were seriously lifting at the effectiveness of the research that is being done on these amazing creatures. Banganek has one of the largest research stations for turtles on our coast line, but I cannot see how this is helping the turtles. It is helping the community to make some money by doing these tours, but I can't see the good side for the turtles in the way that things have been set out.

It really is a special experience and you should tread carefully so that you don't accidentally step on a baby loggerhead turtle like I almost did. Their chances are already so slim. Also don't pick them up and carry them to the water, you are aiding in a slow death of a baby turtle. They purposely have to trek across the beach to build up strenght before hitting the water! These turtles have an amazing journey through life and return to the same place where they were born, to lay their eggs when the time comes. It can only leave me in awe of the amazing creation that we live in, this place called earth. Our home.

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