Ras al-Jinz (Ras al-Junayz), the easternmost
point of the Arabian Peninsula, is an important turtle-nesting
site for the endangered green turtle. Over 20, 000 females
return annually to the beach where they hatched in order
to lay eggs. Every turtle lays around 100 eggs and it
takes less than two hours, then she cover the hole and
crawls back to the sea.
The high season is May- Sept, but in any day of the year
you have good chance to see at least one.
HOW TO VISIT
The area is under government protection and the only way
to visit the site is by booking through the Directorate
General of Nature Reserves (24 602285; fax 24 602283)
and joining an escorted tour at around 9.30pm every evening
taking around 2 hours.
The best is to call one or two days in advance to book.
The centre is 40km from the city of Sur and you need your
own vehicle, unless you don't join a group organised by
the Sur hotel in Sur.
We settled down at the Sur hotel and asking info about
the turtle-nesting, the manager suggested us to rent a
car, he didn't seem in the 'I-organise-your-trip' mood.
We rented it at the Sur Plaza Hotel for 17 OR/day (34€)
and, confident of our Lonley Planet map (great error!)
We drove for 30min, then the road ended up in the darkness.
We turned the car back, found a local, we asked, we thought
to have understood, we mistook again, and still again,
when at the end we found out a helpful guy who drove us
on the right way.
Moral of the story: before leaving, get a decent map!
The Nature Reserves Centre opened in the 2007, in fact
I was surprised to find such modern structure in the middle
'Sorry, you haven't booked, for this night it's full-booked'
We were almost fainting
We really begged them for accepting us, and for God Sake
we managed! However I guess it has been quite an exception.
So don't count on it and book at least one day in advance.
We paid the 6€ fee and in a 10 people group with
two guides we had a 15 min walk to reach the beach. You
don't need the flash lamp since the guides have, and you
wouldn't be allowed to use neither. No flash is permitted,
so if you want to take some decent snaps, bring your tripod.
It didn't take that long that we spotted a turtle laying
the eggs: personally I had the goose bumps seeing the
huge animal in such 'intimate' moment shrouded in the
silent darkness with the sound of the sea in the background.
However the best came when, moving away from the turtle
laying the eggs, we almost stamped on two turtle-babies
just come out from another nest and crawling on their
way to the sea.
The guide explained that to keep the right direction,
they follow the light of the moon reflected on the sea,
in fact with his flash lamp he could really drive them.
For the turtle- babies to reach the sea climbing the small
sand-dunes of the beach, it's a struggle, the first one
of a difficult life, given that only one or two turtles
of the whole nest (around 100 eggs) while survive as adult.