Photo Story: Sunset to Sunrise, Turtle Nightlife.

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Leatherback Turtle  Beach Sunset

PHOTOS BY : Courtenay “Bush Man” Rooks (Adventurer / Managing Director – Paria Springs Tours)

The twin island state of Trinidad & Tobago sees numerous beautiful sunrises and sunsets, but no one is more deserving of a peaceful trek, along the gentle sunlit Grand Riviere coastline, than “Mama” Leatherback returning to the sea after an arduous night of nesting. Our NativeFoto Contributor “Bush Man” Courtney Rooks, a well known friend of nature, was on hand to capture a couple photo moments. We look forward to further images from Courtenay to add to our Local Stock Image database at . Read on if you’re not scared of catching  a little knowledge about our Leatherbacks 🙂

COMMENTARY: Leatherbacks are the oldest of all sea turtle species, and have been around for more than 150 million years; they even survived the extinction of the dinosaurs !! The typical adult measures in between 5-6 feet and weighs 600-800 pounds .

Below are excerpts taken from, to see the full article go to

Trinidad is one of the most important leather-back sea turtle nesting sights in the world. During peak season some beaches report up to 300 nesting leatherbacks in a single night. It’s estimated that approximately 20 percent of the world’s leather-back sea turtle population is of Trinidadian ancestry.

Leather-back sea turtles nest every 2 to 3 years, returning up to 6 times a nesting season to deposit broods of between 80-100 tennis-ball size sea turtle eggs on each visit, 70% of which will hatch in between 60-70 days, just prior to dawn.

But many things can go wrong. Inexperienced females sometimes fail to lay their eggs above high water mark, lights on the beach scare nesting turtles away, and nest sand can become compacted from too much foot traffic, so conservation efforts are ongoing to reduce man’s impact on these wonderful creatures.

Visiting Helps the Local Communities. For a child, this can be the adventure of a lifetime. Getting to stay up into the wee hours of the night, walking along a dark beach under a star filled Caribbean night sky, and witnessing the 1½ to 2 hour dramatic nesting ritual of the giant leatherbacks. And what’s more, when you go leather-back sea turtle watching in Trinidad and Tobago you help the local economies, encourage conservation, and ensure the survival of these modern day dinosaurs.

March through August is turtle watching season, but the best time to visit is during April to July, peak nesting season…. wear warm dark coloured clothing, long pants, and tennis shoes. And don’t forget your insect repellent.


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  1. Jennifer Stene-Reply
    August 6, 2015 at 6:17 am

    I look forward to further images of the turtles nesting. This is one of my favorite childhood memories from living in Trinidad. My dad took my brother and I a few times to wait for them in the dark and I can still feel the excitement when I think about it.

  2. NativeFoto Admin-Reply
    August 6, 2015 at 6:36 am

    Hi Jen, thank you for your comments. Not to worry, we will be uploading loads of Turtle Nesting images as well as a few videos to our NativeFoto Website after our testing period ends in October. Hopefully, we can help keep your memories fresh. If you haven’t already done it, then I recommend you take a read of our POST on the Tamana caves, you might need to return to cover that expedition 🙂

  3. Dustin-Reply
    August 6, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    Like the sunset photo though the trees.

  4. Heathcliff-Reply
    August 6, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    Great shots. I like the sunset backdrops.
    I recall I did visit once a few years ago…. Very lovely.
    Sadly, it pains me when ignorant people still do not understand the importance not disturbing the turtles during the nesting exercise.

  5. NativeFoto Admin-Reply
    August 6, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    Yeap, I guess its up to those of us with a bit more knowledge about our Turtles to help educate others.

  6. Gordon-Reply
    August 6, 2015 at 8:58 pm

    The leather back turtle is truly a representation of the circle of life, returning every year to the same nestling grounds where they hatched from and starting the entire process again. Their survival is a true measure of the cycle of life.

  7. NativeFoto Admin-Reply
    August 7, 2015 at 12:34 am

    Hmmm … So true, also sounds like you’ve been listening well to the Tour Guide.

  8. Maui-Reply
    August 7, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    Amazing creatures. Highly recommended that both young and old experience this phenomena. More pics definitely required thou.

  9. August 8, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    This is one of our greatest success stories – saving the leather back turtle. Still lots of work to do though

  10. P.Sawh-Reply
    August 10, 2015 at 11:34 pm

    Amazing photos! I’m a sucker for sunset…LOVE!
    Very informative post. Can be used to spread awareness through photography.

  11. August 12, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    Very amazing animals. I had the pleasure of turtle watching once as a child and would love to do it again! Especially since I now know that doing so would contribute to greater conservation efforts as well as boost the economies of the local communities. Great post Derek.

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