Leatherback Turtles – Final shoot of the documentary

And this is the very last location and the last adventure of our latest documentary project – Filming Leatherback Turtles in Gabon. Check our previous blogs for our trips to Guinea Bissau and Costa Rica

Tagging a leatherback

Tagging a leatherback

Planet’s greatest turtles

Leatherback turtles are the giants of the turtle world. The biggest ever recorded was nearly 3 metres long and weighed in at just under 1000 kilos. That’s almost the same weight as a Nissan Micra! Some turtle…

These leviathans are known to cross oceans in search of food. They exist on a diet of jellyfish. Tagged leatherbacks have crossed the Pacific from Japan to California.

Leatherbacks are also the champion divers of the turtle world – they can dive for as long as one hour to depths of as much as 1000 m!

But when it’s time to lay their eggs powerful primaeval forces drive them back to the beaches where they themselves hatched.

Fionn selfie with leatherback

Fionn selfie with leatherback

Gabon hosts the biggest nesting population of leatherback turtles in the world.  Almost all leatherbacks in the south Atlantic will have hatched on these beaches. So that is where Fionn headed along with Dr. Brendan Godley , one of the planet’s leading experts in turtles.

Brendan is based on Exeter University‘s Penryn Campus, just down the road from our studio, and is the scientific adviser for our documentary.

Dangerous beaches…

The shoot was – interesting… Because the beaches where the turtles nest backs onto deep jungle, and the turtles share the beach with buffaloes, forest elephants, and even a pair of hippos with a calf. Not really the place to be wandering at night! And yet that is what the crew had to do, as that is when the turtle action takes place!

It may look docile here, but when this buffalo charged the team scattered very quickly!

With filming now complete, lock down couldn’t have come at a better time for us. We are now deep into the edit and hope to have something to show you very soon…

Much appreciation to Dan Marsh for the original concept for this film. Dan didn’t get to come along on any of the filming trips with us but I hope we will get to work with him in the future…