MONDAY, just after 5pm, lucky beachgoers at Eimeo witnessed a true labour of love.

A flatback turtle, with an impressive 90cm carapace, intently made its way up the steep sandy beach and laid a clutch of eggs.

Sandy Vella, a Northern Beaches resident for more than two decades, said she had never seen a turtle of this size on any of the beaches in the area.

"I was just going for a walk and I noticed a bit of a crowd and then I spotted the turtle," Ms Vella said.

"It was a beautiful experience. There was a real sense of connection among the small crowd of locals who had gathered to watch the turtle.

"Everyone, young and old, even the dogs, were well aware of how special the moment was and they were quiet and respectful."

Turtle tracks on Eimeo beach.
Turtle tracks on Eimeo beach.

Turtle Watch volunteer Faye Griffin said it was out of the ordinary for a turtle to lay eggs in daylight.

"Turtles usually lay eggs at night when the beaches are empty, so this was definitely odd," Mrs Griffin said.

"She originally tried to approach her nest about 4pm but there were several people on the beach and some children approached her, so she went back out to sea and came back about an hour later."

Mrs Griffin said if a turtle was spotted nesting at a local beach her advice was to stay well away from it, to not interfere with it and not cross its path.

"It's actually best to stay behind the turtle as they have excellent peripheral vision and if they see you they might turn around and head back to the water," she said.

"It takes a huge amount of effort for these animals to build a nest and we want to encourage them to do so."

If you see a turtle, hatchlings or a nest on a local beach please phone Turtle Watch Mackay on 4954 9613.


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