The experience of watching an adult sea turtle nest or watching the hatchlings find their way to the sea can be an extraordinary experience. It is a phenomenon a few get to witness when they visit Andaman. It’s one thing you should do with much caution keeping in mind that you don’t create any type of disturbance and only see things from afar.
Turtles nesting in Andaman
You’ll see four types of turtles nesting in Andaman – Leatherback (Dermochelys Coriacea), Hawksbill (Eretmochelys Imbricata), Green Turtle and Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys Olivacea). Of these, the leatherback turtle was in news last year (2018) as their nesting almost doubled. The turtle nesting activity is trending to make a comeback after the setback of the 2004 Tsunami.
During the nesting season, you’ll see female turtles make their way to the sandy beaches and digging a hole. It is in here that they lay their eggs. Sea turtles tend to deposit around 100 eggs in each nest and make 3 – 7 nests during the nesting season.
The phenomenon is hugely influenced by the weather. The eggs take 45 – 90 days to hatch. The break open the eggshell with their temporary tooth, after which the hatchlings find their way to the surface and try to crawl quickly to the safety of the water.
In which places in Andaman can you see turtle nesting?
An average of 1,000 leather back nests is found across the Andaman and Nicobar islands over the years, making this a significant nesting population in the South Asian region — and the only one in India*. Source
To witness turtle nesting you need to head to Diglipur. Here, you can visit Rangat and get to the Aamkunj beach, the Dhaninallah beach or head to Karmatang which is called the ‘Turtle paradise’ of India. Know all about Karmatang beach
It is best to check with local tour operators who have the right network to guide you on where to head.
Turtle nesting is generally witnessed at night and it is best to do it with the help of a local guide. The guide can pick you up from your hotel at the right time where you get to go to the beach at night. The guide will also drop you back after the activity.
Word of caution
It is extremely important that you be noiseless during this time. Do not try to touch the turtles or the eggs or get close to them. Do not try to feed the turtles. Do not litter anything on the beach. Be extra cautious to not throw plastic as turtles often mistake this for jelly fish. Over one third turtles end up consuming some kind of plastic in their lifetime. Plastic and fishing nets also tangle the turtles and their young which leaves them in pain for a lifetime. It is up to us to help conserve them for future generations.
How to ensure you get to witness this?
First – Plan your vacation between December and March as this is the time you are highly likely to witness turtle nesting.
Second – Choose the right package. Ensure your package like this Andaman tour package includes a visit to Rangat with an overnight stay there. Only then will you be able to take up this activity
Three – Hire a local guide via your tour operator who will guide you on where to look and the dos and don’ts of the activity.
If you are planning to visit Andaman this year, don’t forget to include this activity in your package. It is one of the most interesting phenomenon that you and your children will witness.