Maldives Turtles – Nature’s Navigators
You’ve driven to the airport, boarded a plane or two, taken a wonderfully scenic seaplane transfer with Trans Maldivian Airways and finally landed at your dream destination – a tiny speck of land in the Indian Ocean. Now imagine taking that journey without the use of GPS, using just your sense of direction…
Sea Turtles make epic journeys as they migrate between their feeding and nesting sites, some as far apart as 1400 miles. Baby Sea Turtles hatch and scramble across the beach to the brightest light source – usually the full moon reflecting on the ocean. They swim out to deeper water where they drift in ocean currents for a few years – this stage in their life is often known as ‘the lost years’ as not much is known about the turtles and where they go during this time. They find their way to suitable feeding grounds but the amazing thing is that when it’s time to nest they find their way back to the very same stretch of beach where they themselves hatched. This inbuilt navigation ability has been researched and still baffles scientists today. One suggestion as to how the sea turtles accomplish such a journey with faultless navigation is that they can detect and use the angle and intensity of the Earth’s magnetic field.
When you swim, snorkel or dive in the waters around your destination island don’t be surprised to see the inquisitive face of a Hawksbill Turtle, or the sleepy face of a Green Sea Turtle for these two species are the most common in the Maldives and are regularly seen. Pay special attention to any areas of sea grass in the lagoons as this is a favourite food of the Green Sea Turtle. The thrill of seeing these wonderful creatures in their natural environment will soon be yours.
With five of the seven species of Sea Turtles living in the Maldives, how will you know which species of turtle you’ve spotted? Look out for our News article on Sea Turtle Identification – coming soon!