Trunk Bay Beach is an active turtle nesting site.
In May and June, the height of Tortola’s busy tourist season begins to slow, and the island becomes quieter. There are some visitors that take this chance every year to find a quiet beach to lay on. Literally. Trunk Bay is named after the Leatherback sea turtles known locally as Trunk turtles, which come ashore to lay their eggs on the beautiful sandy beach in the early summer months. If you wake up one morning and think that somebody’s driven a tractor across the sand, don’t worry, you’ve had a visit from one of these marine giants. Because Trunk turtles are no run-of-the-mill beast. They are some of the largest reptiles in the world, reaching 2m in length and weighing well over 600kg .
They also have some pretty extraordinary habits. Their main diet is jellyfish, which are made almost entirely of water, and the ways in which they use this scant nutrition to reach such enormous sizes is still a physiological mystery. Trunk turtles are no couch potatoes either, they spend only about 0.1% of their day resting, and the turtles that frequent Trunk Bay spend their winter months near Canada, making their huge migrations to lay about 100 ping-pong ball sized eggs at a time in nests that the females dig with their hind flippers. On the way, they can dive to unbelievable depths of over 1,000 meters in search of food
About 60-70 days after laying, the eggs will hatch and a mass of tiny, black and white hatchlings will erupt from the sand and scramble to the sea to begin their own epic journeys. Wish them well as they set off on their perilous trips, and you might see them again when they return as adults to dig their own nests on Trunk Bay. Although you may be lucky enough to see a Trunk turtle emerging from the beach to lay, or hatchlings scrambling for the sea, please do be aware that they are a protected species. Both adults and babies are easily disturbed by noises and artificial lights, so give them some peace and quiet to do their thing so that there’ll be Trunk turtles at Trunk Bay for generations to come.
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