Witness Con Dao turtles spawn eggs

If visitors go to Cat Lon beach or Bay Canh Island, Con Dao in the period from April to October every year, they will have an opportunity to see turtles coming ashore at night to spawn eggs and conservation staff will be responsible for hatching and releasing of baby turtles to the sea.

Bay Canh Island is dubbed "the superlative eco-tourism island of Con Dao". Being far from the exciting world outside, it is not only a pristine land with blue waters and colorful corals but also the largest place for preservative sea turtle in Vietnam.
 
Bay Canh Island where you can see turtle spawn eggs in Con Dao 
Cat Lon beach when being in dry season

Time

The breeding season of sea turtle is around from April to October but the peak period is from annual July to September. You only can visit the island from 4-6 hours or stay overnight (only stay one night on Bay Canh Island) to see turtles spawning eggs. The maximum of visitor is 48 people at day time and 24 people at night for each time.

The way of moving, traveling

Bay Canh is belong to the conservative area of Con Dao National Park. In order to coming here, visitors have to apply for a license at the national park on Big Con Son island (this license application is free, having valid until 5pm the following day).
With a license, you can hire a boat at prices ranging from 1.5 million for both two ways. After 45 minutes moving by boat, visitors will arrive to Bay Canh Island. Then you go on the trail along mangrove forest around 700m to Bay Canh Forestry Commission.
On the way, you can see with your own eyes jungle fowl, ebony squirrel, and colorful butterfly. The surrounding is mangrove forest with an area of about 5,1ha, with 24 species of mangrove plants. They mainly are Rhizophora apiculate, Bruguiera gymnorrhiza, Ceriops tagal, su ổi, bang phi, etc.

Observing turtles spawning eggs

turtle eggs were taken from the nest by conversation staff 
Turtle eggs were taken from the nest by conservation staff

Cat Lon Beach on Bay Canh Island is one of 14 breeding grounds of turtle in Con Dao, at the same time is the place having biggest turtles number coming to spawn eggs. After dinner, visitors are relax at hammock tent on Bay Canh island, when the tide raises, mother turtles start appearing on near-shore waves to look for place to spawn. It’s time you are allowed to go to the spawning areas. Under silvery moonlight, you'll see the mother turtles slowly crawl ashore, cross over rocks and dead coral washed over ashore by waves.
 
turtle is spawn her egg after finding a suitable place
To spawn eggs, the turtles must follow these steps: finding place, digging nest,
spawning egg and covering nest to erase the tracks.

Mother turtles will select a fine sand area near the grove and then use their front legs to dig nest, and then use their behind legs to dig a hole about 50 - 60cm deep, 20cm wide and start spawning eggs. In the bright light of flashlight, visitors will be shown each round and white turtle egg as a tennis ball falling down the hole. After spawning, sea turtles continue using their front legs to fill in the hole with the length of from 5-6m to remove tracks and disguise their nest. A mother turtle in Con Dao usually spawn at average of about 80 eggs, but some case spawn more than 200 eggs case.

Waiting until turtles left the nest, visitors will see a ranger made steps in the conservative activity of sea turtles is bringing that eggs to incubate. Eggs are hatched for 6 hours. When they were taken, half of them will be taken to the lake with plenty of light, the rest will be taken to the lake covered with sun-proof net above. This is to balance the "sex" for baby turtles, because their gender can be adjustable thank to light’s effect and temperature during the time of incubation. The eggs would hatch to baby after approximately 45-60 days.

Watching eggs hatching and releasing baby turtles to the sea

baby turtles are released 
Baby turtles are released when the sun hasn’t been scorching and water level is high

While tourists visit hatching lake, they may see the hatched baby turtles of last time. Each turtle is trying to escape from the shell and elbow others out to climb to the mouth of hatching nest to crawl to the sea. The staff will put baby turtles into basket and put them down on the sand when the tide is high and the sun is not intense. Because the light shines into the eyes of baby turtles, will make them astray.

Travelers will have opportunity to see hundreds, thousands of baby turtles toddle by themselves to the sea in the journey of only a few tens of meters. Before immersed in sea, the baby turtles could still turn around to remember images of where they were born, in order to return to spawn eggs after 30 years later
With survival ratio of 1/1000, sea turtles are listed in Viet Nam and the world Red Book to conserve.

Note

  • Because there are only staff living and working on Bay Canh Island so you have to bring together food when traveling. You can borrow the kitchen of ranger station for cooking.
  • Preparing lifejackets, diving goggles (can be rented at the Garden Center when you apply for a license). Need bring mosquito repellent, insect repellent.
  • While observe mother turtles spawning eggs, you must keep quiet and can’t light directly flashlight toward turtles’ eyes because they are very sensitive to light and sound when being on beach. If they are started, they will back into the sea or stop spawning.
  • There need guider of national park or local people to come along.
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 (+84) 917 620 980

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