They weren't expected to hatch until early October, but on Tuesday night the first loggerhead sea turtles to be born on a beach on the Costa de Sol had arrived.
Between 11pm on Tuesday and 2am on Wednesday, the first 38 turtles set foot on Cabopino beach in Marbella under the watchful eye of the privileged volunteers who attended the birth. Not long after they hatched, experts from the Junta de Andalucía arrived to collect them and take them to Algeciras, where they will remain in care for a year before being released out at the sea, their natural environment.
These eggs came to be in Marbella in August after they were transported in a delicate operation from Los Boliches beach in Fuengirola.
In the darkness of the night of 3 into 4 August, a loggerhead sea turtle made a hole in the sand and laid 73 eggs. She carefully covered them up and left, not knowing that she had left her offspring at the mercy of the tides and the hundreds of people who go every day to that busy beach. There is no other record of a loggerhead turtle laying eggs on the Costa del Sol for the last 80 years.
The news of this important, even extraordinary event, soon reached the Andalusian marine sustainable management centre (CEGMA), who arrived to take care of the eggs in collaboration with Fuengirola town hall, the Local Police and the emergency services.
Immediately the experts realised that the nest was too close to the shore, and that the eggs were in danger, and the decision was made to move them. After studying the ideal place for them, they decided to set up a new incubator in the sand on a Marbella beach.
As only 38 have already hatched, the volunteers must keep up their round-the-clock watch. There are still more than twenty eggs left to take off...