The time is 9pm when we return to Alagadi beach. It is already dark outside and Cyprus’ starry sky glitters above us from where we stand on the beach. One of the volunteers draws a line with her foot in the sand a few meters from the sea and we must all stand behind it. Then a volunteer gently hands us a turtle each. It is now time to release them into the sea. Several nests have been excavated during the day and now the baby turtles get to swim away. Many dangers await them along the way, larger animals like fish and birds will try to eat them and so they will have to swim for dear life to survive.
The turtles flap eagerly with their arms; they are small and light in our hands. We bow down and let them crawl away; some head directly down to the water while others are a bit confused trying to find the right direction. The only light we may use is the red light that the turtles cannot see, the white light from cell phones, restaurants and houses disturb the turtles and make it very hard for them to find the sea.
The first turtle to reach the water is directly swept away by the waves, the others follow shortly after and soon all the hatchlings have left the beach. Now, they travel out into the sea where they will live their lives around the Mediterranean. When the females are old enough they will return to Turtle Beach (Alagadi) in North Cyprus to lay their own eggs and repeat the cycle.
To be with and release turtles at Alagadi Beach, please visit SPOT on their Facebook page where there are phone numbers you can call to schedule a time.