For our 15th wedding anniversary, we were lucky enough to be on the island of Mnemba when turtles were hatching on the beach. Female turtles have around 600 eggs, and they are fertilised by a number of males, about 5. They then lay their eggs in 4-6 batches in holes at the top of the beach. Each batch of eggs will be 100-150, and contain eggs from all of the fathers. The eggs hatch and the baby turtles dig themselves out of the hole, and typically emerge about 2 months after the eggs were laid.
On our third evening, at 6pm, we saw 146 baby turtles come out onto the beach, and make their way down to the sea. A new record, apparently. Then the following night, our last, there was another batch: 100 more baby turtles making their way to the sea! Historically they have only seen the turtles make their way out 30 to 40 times a year, but this year seems to be exceptional and they may double that.
You have to be really careful not to stand on them, as they are smaller than your hand and when you are focusing on one, another 100 are crawling around you! But we were not just spectators, the crabs are after the baby turtles, and we had to scare them off and fill the crab holes - which I did with gusto!
We joked that seeing the first turtle nest open up was very special, but seeing it on two successive evenings meant that it was just common place.