• island retreat digital detox

“Hatching” out of my old ways and back to myself….

Posted on Tue February 5, 2019.

Turtle hatching season will start in June and soon the beautiful coast of Tanzania will be filled with thousands of little newcomers. This reminded me of my first magical encounter with a turtle hatchling on the east coast beaches - the neighbouring JUANI island.

It is a great outing with boat ride (30 mins) and walk (40 mins) through coastal forest to get there.

It was late afternoon, just as the sun went hiding behind the clouds on the horizon, getting ready to turn in for a well-deserved evening’s rest. Our guides expertly lead us to the nest where the long-awaited hatching will soon start.  We waited in anticipation for this marvel to unravel - the first entry into the world for a remarkable and threatened specie's offspring.

As I was sitting there, a small heap of sand that seemed to be moving caught my eye. I must admit, I felt suspicious for a moment and wasn’t, entirely sure what would emerge from under the sand. I bent down to observe the moving lump of sand and saw two small claw-like objects manoeuvring its way through.  

I immediately reached out for my phone to film this fantastic moment of life - a turtle hatching – finding its way through heaps of sand to embark on this journey called life. As I looked at the turtle hatching through my phone's screen, I was hit by the absurdity of it all. How silly - me grabbing my phone time and again to help me live or capture or remember, while this little creature shamelessly struggled its way into life without any help at all. 

It occurred to me that the only device this little turtle depends on is himself, his surroundings and his pure intuition. Simple and basic.

When the little turtle finally made his way to the top of the heap of sand, he started making his way to the ocean - no navigation, no GPS - once again just him and his unobstructed willingness for survival. While staring at this brave little creature, I realised how much I rely on assistance from technological devices on a daily basis. From using my GPS to find my way in life, to asking Siri what I should have for dinner, my thought process was almost entirely unnecessary. As long as I could Google, I did not need to think.

The turtle plunged into the clear water, disappeared into the ocean, free and excited about the journey ahead. Once again, I picked up my phone to document the moment, but as the last ray of sun hit my face, I decided to switch off my phone and rely on my own memory to capture the moment.

My visit to Chole Mjini Treehouses was more than just a relaxing breakaway. It was a time to recharge, to switch off from society and to reconnect with my own inner GPS - just like that little turtle.