We had our first leatherback this season at Cabuyal on the night of Dec 10th and she was a new turtle. Although Cabuyal is mainly a green turtle nesting beach (also frequented by olive ridleys), it serves as a secondary nesting beach for leatherback turtles. Since we started working at Cabuyal in 2011, we have seen leatherback turtles every year and identified between 5 and 20 leatherback nests per year.
Some of the team members had previous experience with leatherbacks, but for some of the staff and volunteers this was their first encounter with a leatherback, so you can imagine the excitement! Nothing compares to being on a dark beach in the middle of a starry night and finding a leatherback emerging from the water. Leatherbacks being so rare these days also adds something to the experience.
On other news, the first green turtle and olive ridley nests of the season hatched at Cabuyal, and the hatchlings made it safely to the water. A few nests were lost to inundation (Cabuyal is a very dynamic beach), but we are successfully continuing to prevent poaching.