Leatherback turtles are endangered—their numbers have declined rapidly in recent years. This is despite the fact that the moms lay about 40 ping-pong ball eggs at a time.
Every few years, they dig giant holes with giant flippers and then spend hours camouflaging to protect their young from trespassers before returning to the sea.
These turtles can swim about a mile straight down. Their shells are flexible enough to withstand the change in pressure, when many of their predators cannot survive it. They also return to the same place where they were born to lay their own eggs, about thirty years later. (Last August we went to Matura to see the babies!) The biggest ones have about a ten foot diameter while average ones are about six.
The drive there is long, but beautiful.
We stayed at a cute little hotel right on the water that provided knowledgeable guides to tell us about the turtles while not disturbing them. (These pictures are our friend Tom’s, since this was mere hours after we’d finished the 20 mile hike and standing, not photographing, was my priority.)