Wednesday, October 12, 2011

First Turtle

Counting babies.

Exactly 50 days ago from today I went on my first patrol in Playa San Miguel . That night I had barely walked 100 meters before I saw my first turtle track. Not only was the turtle still on the beach; she was just starting to make her nest. I spent 25 minutes of my first patrol watching the turtle make a 41cm deep hole with her back flippers before laying 91 eggs. While she was laying her eggs I measured her shell size, track width and placed a metal tag in both her front flippers.  Then I took a backpack full of these eggs back down the beach to the hatchery. I dug a hole using the same shape and depth of hers and then carefully placed each egg into the hole.

All 85 babies.
The reason I am talking about this is because I have been paying special attention to this nest waiting patiently for it to hatch and this morning it finally was time. 85 of my 91 eggs emerged as turtles at 4:50 in the morning. The weather was horrible but Maddie and I put on ponchos and walked to that same place on the beach to release the nest of turtles. The babies were all eager to get to the water and ran as fast as they could.

October is the rainiest month down here; and true to form the rain has begun and hasn't stopped for almost 72 hours. So last night we thought patrol should be cancelled but Maddie and I felt bad so when we released this nest we also walked the beach one time to see if we could find any turtle tracks. However with all the rain it was impossible but we did find a collection of dead animals that had been washed onto shore, including a very fresh male turtle and an armadillo.

All and all the time here is passing way too fast. I have almost been here for 2 months! I hope time doesn’t continue to fly by, well maybe October can cause its so miserably cold and wet!

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