We’re standing on the beach in a huddle around our guide. It’s about 11:00pm on a moonless, partly cloudy night on the Caribbean coast. We can barely make out the features of the other members of our small group. The guide is telling us that another turtle that had been digging a hole in which to lay its eggs has given up on that spot and seems to be moving to another location. We have to wait until the Green sea turtle has completed clearing a nest and begins laying its eggs before we can approach it because we might disturb it and cause it to abandon its efforts and return to the ocean. The nest clearing usually takes about 30 minutes.
Unexpectedly, the guide whispers for us to follow him now. He starts moving quickly to a spot where the beach meets the vegetation. There, a large Green sea turtle is in the space it has cleared and is laying its eggs. Once it begins to lay the eggs it enters a kind of “trance” and is less likely to be disturbed by our presence.