Best Beaches of the World: Rekawa Beach, Sri Lanka
The beach at Rekawa village, 10km east of
Tangalla Bay Beach, is home to one of the most important sea turtle
nesting sites in Sri Lanka, visited by five different species which lay
their eggs in the sand here every night throughout the year.
The best time to see turtles is between January & April; periods when
there's a full moon. Fullish moon too are good throughout the year,
because there are both more turtles & more light to see them by. Rekawa
has recorded 23 turtles in one night. We will definitely see at least a
couple of turtles every night.
We wait long hours in the pitch black beach. At last, one arrives in the
midnight crawling across the beach, away from sea. It leaves, on its
path, a remarkable trail which looks as if a one-wheeled tractor has
driven straight up out to the sea. It's an agonizingly slow crawl of
exhausting half an hour by a creature not adapted to the land. Having
reached the top of the beach, the turtle then spend about another 45
minutes digging an enormous hole. Silence of the midnight is broken by
periodic thrashing & sound of great clouds of sand being scuffed up. As
the turtle begins to lay eggs, we can get close to watch, although all
we could see is the turtle's backside with eggs-looking just like
ping-pong balls-periodically popping out in twos & threes. The turtle
then rests, fills in the hole & eventually crawls back down to the sea.
It's an epic effort, the sight of which makes the whole evening-long
In the absence of government sponsored project, the turtle eggs are then
taken to be re-buried in a secure location, by the villagers who make a
basic living from entertaining tourists. These creatures have acted as a
rare bridge between marine & terrestrial ecosystems for 100 million
years, enriching both as they steadfastly undertake their remarkable
two-realm life cycle. We refuse to buy eggs for consumption. We refuse
to buy turtle products.
It's an honour to meet you
To see a hawkbill gliding through a school of tropical fish
while snorkeling, or observe the timeless ritual of female
leatherback hauling herself up the natal beach to nest is an
honour to be cherished.
Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea)
This omnivorous creature is the smallest species of sea
turtle, weighing less than 40kg.
A beautiful endangered creature
Loggerhead (Caretta caretta)
The name is a tribute to its blunt head that encompasses a
powerful set of jaws used to crush crustaceans & mollusks
that make up its carnivorous diet.
Green turtle (Chelonia mydas)
A unique life cycle sees it relying on crustaceans when
young only to subsist on vegetative matter when mature. An
Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea)
Can exceed 600kg in weight. It is named for its carapace,
which consists of star-shaped bones covered not with the
plate-like scales of most turtles but with a leathery black
skin. This flexible carapace allows the leatherback to
withstand diving to a depth of 1600m in pursuit of the
jellyfish on which it feeds. A single prey source has
fostered an ability to regulate its own body temperature.
That is why the leatherback has been observed feeding at the
Arctic Circle, almost 4500km away from their tropical
on photo to enlarge