A green sea turtle was found sitting high and dry off Benguerra Island this weekend stranded on one of the many sand bars during low tide. Thanks to some quick thinking from the Bazaruto National Park officials and resort employees the lucky sea turtle was returned safely back to the ocean.
Benguerra island is the second largest island in the Bazaruto Archipelago. The islands are covered in magnificent sand dunes which cover the exposed eastern shores, while on the sheltered inside lagoon a large network of sand beds grow beneath the waves. Flying over the archipelago is breathtaking as the underwater dunes create beautiful patterns and an ever changing network of water channels.
This transition from high to low tide can happen quite quickly in the Archipelago as water is rushing out the channel between Benguerra and Bazaruto Island. You can see in the picture above how water draining from the inner lagoon has created a shifting network of sandy channels between the two islands west towards the Indian Ocean.
This weekend the tidal variation was up to 4m (13 feet). Bazaruto has a diurnal tide meaning there is two high and two low tides each day. The tides are always changing with the lowest tidal range of 2m (6.5 foot) and highest range of a whopping 6.2m (20 feet) earlier this month.
There are several Green Sea Turtle nesting sites on Bazaruto and Benguerra Island mostly on the outer shores. The turtles will come ashore at night to dig a hole for laying their eggs. The Bazaruto National Park monitors the nest the best than can as the turtle and their eggs are protected within the Park.
Although Sea turtles can come up onto land it is safe to say with the outgoing tide that this big sea turtle was caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. The north western coast of Benguerra island is especially challenging to navigate and at low tide shallow sand beds are exposed for hundreds of meters in each direction.
Green turtles are omnivorous as juveniles, but as they mature they end up specialist feeders of seagrass and Mozturtle.comhealthy functioning ecosystems. If you would like to support sea turtle conservation in Mozambique or want to learn more about sea turtles visit