Anvil Bay’s untouched stretch of coastal wilderness is not only a private beach paradise but also a rich nesting ground for both Loggerhead and Leatherback turtles. In-season turtle encounters are always a special experience for guests at Anvil Bay.
From late October to late January each year, guests are exceptionally privileged to witness the nesting of the turtles. Then, from December through March, the hatchlings emerge and make their dash for the ocean. For many people, witnessing these ancient reptiles in the natural habitat is a bucket list activity, and during the right time of year, guests at Anvil Bay can take a guided turtle tour where you’ll hopefully be able to view turtles laying their eggs.
While the turtles have been returning to this nesting site for generations, last summer, heavy seas combined with high tides caused extensive primary dune erosion along Anvil Bay’s stretch of beach which in turn, caused the loss of turtle nesting sites and threatened to impact the 2017/18 turtle season.
Anvil Bay Lodge, however, was fortunate to acquire a compact tracked loader which was put to work carrying sand back to recreate the primary dune and restore access to the beach from the rooms.
By the start of the nesting season in September, the dune rehab effort had restored numerous potential nesting sites along the bay.
In total, nine nestings occurred on the beach, providing guests with a thrilling spectacle virtually right on their doorstep. In early November, a loggerhead chose the fresh sand restored to room 7′s pathway to make her nest. The nests are cordoned off with laths to avoid compacting the site and a pathway around the site is used until the hatchlings emerge.
December saw a further three nestings in the bay. One evening in January provided a spectacular event for guests settling down for a beach dinner under a starlit sky. After starters were served, turtle monitor Siabonga reported a turtle nesting between room eight and nine, just 40m away.
The main course was delayed while guests watched her finish laying, covering the nest and returning to sea. At the same time, the sand had cooled enough for hatchlings to begin their journey to life as they emerged from a marked off nest in front of room three. Guests were treated to the rare experience of witnessing both a nesting and hatchlings making their frantic dash to the sea. It’s essential they make this journey by themselves.
In order to minimize the impact on turtle activities, Anvil Bay ensures no artificial light sources are visible to the nesting sites during the hatching period which occurs after 60 to 70 days of incubation.
A comprehensive turtle monitoring program has been established for the 115 kilometers of coastline that makes up the Ponta do Ouro Partial Marine Reserve. 46 turtle monitors from the community have received training, and for the season from September to March record nesting and hatchling activities along allocated sectors of the coast. Around 1600 loggerhead and about 50 of the larger Leatherback turtle nestings are recorded during a season.