Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Horizon Has Been Defeated

The turtle first coming out if the water.
Last night, right as the sun was setting, one of the local girls came up to the house to tell us that there was a sea turtle on the beach. Since it was still light out and there had been a lot of shrimp trawler lately, I assumed it was a dead turtle. So we headed out to the beach to take data on the turtle before it washed away with the tide. However, we were surprised to see the town was beginning to gather at a safe distance as a turtle made her way onto the shore. She seemed to be moving at a very slow pace and there began talks that the turtle was missing a flipper. We waited as normal before we approached her, only to find that she did have all four flippers. The group of onlookers grew as the turtle began digging.

However, it became apparent that even though she had all her flippers something was wrong with the rear ones. As she dug one flipper tried to scoop the sand backwards and while the other was digging completely to the side. So even if she was able to make a deep enough nest the eggs would just be laid on the sand. The poor turtle made two failed attempts before I tried to help her out. By this point, our audience had dwindled due to being eaten alive by bugs and only Santos, Kayla, Molly, Rachel, the dogs and I were left on the beach.
Me trying to help the turtle dig her nest.

Unfortunately, this turtle was not happy with my helping her nest and she aborted another 2 nests. It became clear that she was not going to succeed at nesting this night and there were a ton of dogs sniffing around, so Molly and Rachel quickly picked up the turtle and returned her to sea.
Molly and Rachel helping the turtle back to sea.

However, when Molly, Kayla and Rachel went out on their patrol the turtle was back on the beach and had walked almost 1/2 km parallel to shore and had aborted another 4 nests. They also tried their hand at helping her nest, but came up empty. My only hope is that this determined turtle is able to nest in the next couple nights.

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