After hearing that Tanegashima is one of Japan's preeminent sea turtle nesting areas, this bit of information really made me want to go see them.
For some reason, their nesting had a mysteriousness to it and I wanted to observe it with my own eyes.
The same night that I arrived on the island, I headed straight to the beach.
Waving my light around in the dark, I searched high and low.
Despite the effort, though, I didn't encounter any turtles.
At one point, I was excited to see something move, but it was just a crab.
Even when I searched around the bamboo poles that are signs of a nest, I didn't find anything.
In the end, I gave up and left.
Later, I asked a local resident and she told me, "Sea turtles are timid creatures. When they notice any signs of people, they quickly run away."
She continued, "That's why you're not supposed to try so hard to find them.
They are taking a risk and laying their eggs with other dangers around.
You should just let them be.
Even if you were to find one, don't bother it. Watch it quietly. That's really important."
I guess I had done something foolish.
This island is neither a zoo nor an aquarium.
It's not okay to give in to curiosity and go chasing sea turtles.
I wanted to see one, but I decided not to make a mission out of it. This was a promise I made to myself.