Sea turtle goes to beach cafe for morning eggs
THE coffee at Sea Bean cafe wasn't the only thing drawing a crowd on Sunday morning.
A loggerhead turtle made her way up to the edge of the cafe to settle in for some early morning eggs.
Cafe owner Kris Johnson said she was surprised to see the sea creature as it attempted three times to dig a nest to lay her clutch.
"Maybe she wanted a coffee," Ms Johnson laughed.
"Seriously, it was a special event, which started with 20 or so people watching and before long there was 50 people."
Ms Johnson said it took the turle three tries, one of which was on the grass and compressed sand, before she was able to lay about 80 eggs down in the sand dunes.
"She was on land for about two hours in total," she said.
"When she first came out of the water there were three guys out in the surf and and I think they were a bit shocked.
Ms Johnson praised the crowd of onlookers who respected the turtle and gave her space as she nested.
In the crowd were three young nippers, Indi Bland, Evella McKay and Baylin McKay who watched in awe.
The nippers' father, Dwayne McKay said they'd seen the turtles nesting at Mon Repos, but it was a first at Nielson Beach and a first during the daylight.
Mr McKay said he was blown away by the experience.
"Awesome experience for all," Mr McKay said.
He wasn't sure how many eggs were laid but said they were relocated by a ranger.
Mr McKay said he was told it was the turtle's first visit to the area and that the rangers tagged her, before saying they expected her to return about two to three times this season.
After the event a video and photos were posted online, with community members shocked the event took place so close to home.
John Harrison said he remembered in 1984 when there were hatchlings in front of the surf club.
"They all started heading inland so we collected them in buckets and used the rescue boards to take them out to the furtherest rocks," he said.
"Maybe that lady laying the eggs is one of those rescued hatchlings from 1984."
Another person posted they were surprised the turtle ventured up with an audience watching.
The turtle tours are in full swing at Mon Repos with nesting turtles coming ashore most nights. To date the Turtle Encounter Tours have recorded 60 individual loggerhead turtles and three flatback turtles. There has been more than 3500 visitors on the tours.
From January to March the hatchlings are seen forming a pathway to the ocean as they begin their journey into adolescence, with only 1 in 1000 turtles making it to maturity.