This was no ordinary egg hunt, the vet was hoping to find eggs of endangered green sea turtles, one of the most fascinating, prehistoric creatures of the sea.
“Lady Elliot Island is on the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef,” Dr Chris told 10 play. “It’s this amazing stop off point for so many animals and so many species of wildlife and, for one part of the year, it becomes a turtle nesting ground.
“We wanted to show something a little bit different and give good insight into a world that audiences probably wouldn’t expect.”
Meeting up with ranger, John ‘Meechy’ Meech, Chris discovered hatchlings and witnessed a very special moment that left everyone in awe.
“We had a drone up in the afternoon just watching the turtles as they started to circle the island. That gives an indication that they’re keen to lay their eggs, so we focused on those spots and sure enough, the turtles that we were looking at it in the afternoon came ashore to lay their eggs that night,” Chris said.
“It’s so quiet, all you can hear is her digging in the sand and they go to remarkable depths using their rear flippers. The way they construct this chamber to lay their eggs in is quite remarkable and requires incredible extremity for an animal which lives in a shell. But they do it and they do it with good reason.”
There are various factors which are crucial when turtles prepare to lay their eggs, from the depth of the pit, to the closeness of the ocean water.
“The water can’t flood into the chamber otherwise the eggs won’t hatch, so she has to do a lot of thinking and then, when the eggs appear, it’s just incredible. She has 120 eggs inside of her that she’s been swimming around with the entire time. It’s one of those true marvels of nature, it’s right up there for me in terms of the most incredible spectacle you could see.”
But what makes a moment like this more surreal, is the fact that turtles always return to the beach they were born, to lay their own eggs.
“This turtle has travelled over 3,000km back to the same beach it was born on 40, 50 or 60 years ago,” Chris said. “No one knows exactly how they find that beach again, but they’re incredible travellers and they come back to do their part to preserve and continue their species. It’s just so incredibly beautiful.”
While on his adventure, Chris also helped Meechy rescue baby turtles, carrying the tiny things, helping them to find their way to the water.
“I rescued those from being trapped in their nest… we believe as they run down the beach, they are picking up the magnetic feel of the earth which helps them find the beach when they’re an adult,” Meechy said.
Unfortunately, its estimated only 1 in 1000 hatchlings make it to adulthood, which is why rescuers like Meechy are critical for giving the species a shot.
“I get excited every time I see some of these little guys run down the water at night time, knowing that I saved their lives. If I live to be 120, I will still love doing this,” Meechy said.
“It was incredible to see these turtles that otherwise wouldn’t have survived, running towards the ocean. They were originally running in the opposite direction, because wherever there’s human development, there’s lights, so they get confused,” Chris explained.
Being only two episodes into the new season of The Living Room and seeing such a magnificent moment like this, we can’t wait to see what else Chris has up his sleeve.
“I’ve got a real focus on travelling, the wonders of the animal world, as well as some interesting little insights into people’s pets, and also just some pure travel experiences that people might want to try. It’s a great opportunity to spice up people’s Friday nights,” Chris said.