Sunday, November 11, 2012

That Wild Migration- Beautiful Swimmers

Tons of turtle tracks
Yesterday I got to witness a phenomena that anyone who works with turtles dreams of see, an Arribada. Arribada means 'the arrival' in Spanish and is a mass nesting event that occurs in only Olive Ridleys and Kemp Ridleys.

Here is how it all began. I woke up early, at 5:30, to do a morning check of the beach followed by an exhumation for a couple visiting from Pennsylvania. When I got back into the house our German volunteers had made us German pancakes, which are pretty much crepes and nothing like The Original Pancake House's German pancakes, but delicious nonetheless.

Around 10AM Erik came to the house to tell us that they just found out that Corozalito had an Arribada and that we could all go. So 8 of us, plus the 6 other people they are already picked up, all pilled into the car and headed the 15 Km north to go see some sea turtles.

Me posing with a turtle.
When we got there, the beach was not full of turtles like I had expected, but there were still turtles nesting. The sand was so hot I was amazed the turtles could even walk on it, but they seemed to be still trying to nest. Then I looked out on the horizon , just past the breaking waves, and saw a ton more turtles waiting to come in. It seemed as though they were waiting until the sand cooled down before they nested.

Sea turtle nesting.
Another nesting turtle

After about an hour, the Pretoma truck was loaded and ready to return us all to our appropriate projects. But lucky for me, Alvaro showed up, which meant I had the opportunity to stay back and watch the turtles a little longer. The interesting thing was, right after the truck left the majority of the turtles stopped nesting and  were just coming up and  leaving. When they would reach the hot sand the would turn around and rest, holding their flippers out of the sand, like they were being burned. We even had to help a few because they not moving and just sitting on hot sand.

Another hour passed and it was time for me to head back and have a much needed lunch with some good girl friends  before heading back to Costa de Oro. As for the arribada, I still have high hopes to make another trip to Corozalito today!

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