When I first read that there were Turtles in Vanuatu I was excited, I really wanted to get as close as possible to an animal I hadn’t seen before. I like turtles, but it’s been at a distance. That all changed on Moso Island.
We read that there was s Turtle Rookery on Tranquility Island (also known as Moso). We wanted to get there but really didn’t want to do the half day tour and see things that didn’t really interest us before we got to the rookery. After mentioning this to the guys at Havannah (the best place we have ever stayed) they arranged a trip for us on their little speed boat across the harbour to have our own look at the rookery.
I didn’t know what to expect, and after trekking through the jungle from the jetty we emerged into the rookery. Essentially it’s a heap of big white plastic tubs filled with turtles. The turtles are collected by local villages when they hatch and are bought to the rookery where they are paid for and then looked after until they are big enough to have a better chance of surviving in the wild.
The Hawksbill Turtle is critically endangered meaning that the species numbers have decreased, or will decrease, by 80% within three generations. So that means there isn’t that many about. To be in a little area with over a hundred of this amazing and beautiful reptile was fantastic.
The little ones are fragile and not able to be handled, but as you go down the tubs they get bigger and bigger until you get to the 2 year old turtles in the final cement tanks. These larger turtles are ready for release. The rookery relies on tourists coming by and sponsoring the turtles and releasing them. Of course, we had to do this. We picked up, measured it up and Vikashni walked it down beach and released it. TM (As we called it) was tagged and each time it is seen thy researchers will send us an email to let us know how it’s going. Very cool.