Bushcamp – Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve
Arrived here fairly late after a long days drive with just a few very short stops. We’re old hands now at getting the kitchen setup and tents pitched. We generally have a fairly elaborate dinner but because we arrived late, we had pasta and pesto. Tasty enough though and filling.
(Please click on any thumbnail to enlarge the whole gallery for full size images)
There was a turtle reserve near us and we booked a slot to view them. It cost 8 Rial, about €20 or so. After a long disorganised wait; they charged us 1 Rial to use internet; we walked about 20 mins to get to the beach. I was expecting a knowledgeable guide or ranger who was part of a turtle conservation, preservation and protection system to introduce small groups of us to these amazing creatures in an appropriate and respectful manner. Not a bit of it.
Our group had about 30 or 40 people and there was no information or organisation present. The guy at the desk was rude and aggressive and shouting at people to form a line. So uncool. There were 8 different groups do a few hundred people in total. With some fussing and incomprehensible mumbling from our “guide”, we started walking down to the beach area.
When we got there we found a turtle in the process of laying eggs. There was no organisation and people milled round the hole shouting and taking photographs. We were asked not to use lights or flashes but people did. Almost immediately, the poor turtle started climbing out of the hole and tried to get to the water. As people were in a circle around her, she became disoriented and went off on a tangent until she finally got to the water.
Then a cry went up. A tiny baby turtle was seen waddling from a hole to the water. Ooh, aah, everyone exclaimed. It looked so cute. As soon as it got into the water, a guide snatched it out and put it in a container. Apparently the whole event was staged for gullible tourists paying €20 a pop. There were hundreds of us there that night.
The mother turtle was awesome though. She looked and moved in, what appeared to me, a very ancient manner.
The whole experience though left a bad taste in my mouth.