Olive Ridleys – Toil and Beauty

Olive Ridley in Ostinal, Costa Rica
Olive Ridleys nesting  in Ostinal Costa Rica

If the moon and tide are just right,
On the beach in Ostinal, Costa Rica
Hundreds and thousands of female sea turtles gather
As if by magic, Olive Ridleys swim to the same mile
Riding the high tide at night
To nest in the black, volcanic sand

Dragging her heavy body onshore
She finds a spot over the high tide line
Flicking the sand with her flippers to dig a nest
Where 100 or so soft-shell eggs are laid
And then buried
And likely never seen again

Vultures take eggs
Vultures take eggs while the turtles are laying them

Vultures watch and grab as she toils
But the turtle doesn’t stop and fight
Seemingly nothing distracts her
And what about the odds?
Only two out of one hundred babies survive…
Against the humans, animals, birds, fish

After two hours of fight,
Back down the beach she struggles
Into the warm ocean from where she came
Tired but empty of eggs
Prepared for a male that waits to mate
Nature’s relentless cycle…

Back to the sea
The turtles are heading back to the sea after nesting

As I watch in amazement
With goose-bumps that last
Without the words to explain
I witness something raw, primitive
As the blood orange sun melts into the warm Pacific
One day, the survivors will make this their home

Thank you to the Ostinal guides, the students, researchers and locals who are educating us and trying to protect the turtles.

One thought on “Olive Ridleys – Toil and Beauty

  1. Amazing creatures are turtles. I looked into the eyes of a sea turtle at an aquarium the other day and felt like it’s depth went on forever. So glad you got to witness that, and thanks for bringing us into the magic with you.

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