While participating in a Turtle Encounter tour at Mon Repos Conservation Park, we fell asleep as we waited to be called to watch a sea turtle laying eggs, but our patience was rewarded. It was early in the morning when the rangers announced that another turtle had crawled up the beach to above the high-water mark to dig her nest.

Following the rangers’ directions, we wrapped up warmly and stepped lightly across the sand to where another ranger had positioned a torch to shine on the rear of the turtle as she dropped eggs into the hole. Although she can be disturbed while she is exiting the water, once she has finished digging her hole, turtles don’t appear to mind being approached.

Sea turtle laying eggs at Mon Repos Conservation Park, November 2012
After she has dug her hole and is laying eggs, the mama turtle is approachable and calm.

Sea turtle at Mon Repos Conversation Park beach, November 2012
After she's finished laying, the mama turtle starts covering in her hole. The ranger uses this time to check her tags so she can record the turtle's visit to the beach.

Sea turtle at Mon Repos Conversation Park beach, November 2012
The mama turtle only comes on land to lay her eggs, she will return to the ocean as soon as she is finished.

Witnessing such a intimate moment was really inspiring. We love the creatures of this earth, and this special encounter has given us all a foundational reason for caring more for the wider ecosystem in which we all live, for the benefit of us all.

Now we’ve seen a turtle’s nest on a beach, handled its eggs and watched them being laid. One day, I hope we’ll be back at Mon Repos to see the turtles hatch, but yesterday and today’s encounters have given us enough to think about for the moment. We’re still driving south back to Brisbane and will not be lingering in the area for today.