In search of turtles

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Fuwairit, July 2013

Fuwairit is a rocky beach on the east coast of Qatar somewhere between Al Khor and Ruwais, the northern tip of the country. You take the so called ‘North Road’ and watch out for a diversion that says ‘Fuwairit’. The brand new road lasts a hundred meters and then on it is the old road lined with wooden lampposts adorned with really retro filament bulbs. The set lasts simpky because there are no replacements. The whole line has to be replaced. There is a more modern line that runs parallel to the retro line, creating a kind of electric valley between them. The wooden lamp posts are part of the old Qatar that is being systematically replaced. You can still find some of those posts in Doha, when you venture into the inner quarters of the of city.

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The hills of Fuwairit, July 2013

We made this early morning rush to the Fuwairit beach to see the famed Hawksbill turtle hatchlings find their way to the sea. The surviving ones return to the same beach some thirty years later to lay their eggs. Some of the stories from the animal kingdom inspire awe in terms of the accuracy and the hardiness of various species. How they navigate to the exact same beach is a mystery.

Qatar is pretty active on conservatory efforts and has cordoned off the turtle hatching shores from the ever present SUVs and quad bikes. One thing that could further the turtle population is to ban jet skis from plying close to these shores.

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Frolicking on Fuwairit Beach, July 2013

The temperature was significantly lower than Doha with the cool sea breeze making it one of the most pleasant mornings outdoor this summer. The kids had a blast on the beach.

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Ready to take off, July 2013

There were numerous birds probably waiting for the late bloomers (turtle hatchlings that do not reach the sea by sunrise). The Qatar conservatory efforts also include protection by ring fencing the nests and supervision from predators. Some day we may see these truly mythical creatures roaming the great oceans in sustainable numbers.

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Looking for turtles, July 2013

We reached Fuwairit at the wrong time of the day to see any hatchlings ambling to the waters. We learned that they come out in big numbers in the evenings and later in the night.

More info on the conservation can be had here: http://www.seaturtle.org/mtn/archives/mtn99/mtn99p14.shtml

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