Where to see sea turtles in Oman

We are ... well, to be precise: Katarina is a huge animal lover and therefore we try to find some new amazing creatures on every trip. So, what is to see in Oman? Green turtles, of course!
Unfortunately the time of our visit to Oman wasn't the best for seeing the turtles. High season for turtle nesting is in summer, June - August, when about 20 turtles can be seen in one night. But they say that almost every night throughout the year at least one turtle comes ashore to make a nest and lay its eggs. So, in April we hoped for the best.
Main spot for "turtle safari" is Ras Al Jinz near city of Sur and in the vicinity there is another one, Ras Al Hadd. In those two places you pay the entrance fee and the guide takes you to the beach, but if you want to try your luck, you can wait for the turtles on any beach on the southeastern coast of Oman or head to Masirah island, where supposedly even more sea turtles can be seen.

Ras Al Hadd beach and "our" sea turtle
To really understand how many turtles use Omani beaches for their nests, check out these numbers: 20-30 THOUSAND turtles in total come ashore every year, digs a hole in the sand and lay eggs. The adult turtle then returns back to the sea and never meets its offsprings. They, however, hatch after about 2 months and alone try to find their way to the ocean. No parents, no protection, no guidance! 

Unfortunately many dangers awaits little turtles on their way from the nest to the water and this is the reason, why green turtles are endangered species. So, what can go wrong?

- First thing first: mother turtles need quiet and dark sandy beaches to even leave the water. And this is not easy in today's more and more urban world. Street lights, crowded beaches are the reasons that turtles don't make their nests in time and subsequently the eggs will die away in their bodies.

- Eggs in the nests are easy food for predators, like dogs, foxes etc.

- After the hatching little turtles have to find their way into the ocean. Usually the reflection of the moon on the water will guide them. But street and other lights in the vicinity can disturb them to change their way and start crawling in the wrong direction. After getting lost, other animals will eat them, cars can hit them or simply they die of exhaustion and dehydration.

Little hatchling. Vir: http://images.memphistours.com
So, to prevent green turtles from going extinct, in Oman all known nesting sites are protected with  fences to keep animals and people away from poor turtles. Something was done to protect them , but it's not enough: unfortunately turtles are still dying in the fisherman's nets or because of plastic waste in the ocean.

We visited Ras Al Hadd in order to see green turtles. Arriving at about 10pm it was pitch dark on the beach and the guide at the gate told us that he just saw one turtle there. Not being sure if that is a selling tactic or truth we paid the entrance fee (1 rial = 2,5€) and he took us to the turtle. Yes, there was an actual green turtle on that very beach! I was speechless, I couldn't believe my own eyes, I was surprised ... It took me a minute or so to start really appreciating this sighting :) Unbelievable! A few minutes later the guide whispered to us: "There, turtle!" And there was another turtle coming out of the sea! To be honest, it was hard to see anything in the dark, I can say that I saw the shape of something huge and round :) Like a zombie coming out of the sea!
In the meantime the first turtle found her spot and starting digging the nest in the sand. We didn't want to disturb her, so slowly and quietly left the beach.

Turtle digging her nest
Turtle track in the sand
Seeing a turtle nesting was one of the best experiences so far, so rare and so vital to their existence. We are really thankful for this opportunity 💗



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