Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Today I helped save the turtles. Specifically the Leatherback turtles. And it wasn’t just the turtles, it was lots of different species. Today at our worksites we helped clear Sandy Point, which is a beach that lots of turtles nest on, of Tan-Tan trees and daughter, which is an invasive species of weed/plants. It’s actually considered a parasite. The reason we clear off the Tan-Tan and the daughter is because baby turtles can actually get stuck in them when they hatch and they don’t know how to reverse. So they get into all of these weeds (which look like spaghetti) and they get all tangled up and they can’t make it to the water. I was mostly clearing the daughter off of the beach. I was clearing it off of a bush and actually right away a hummingbird came up to check out the bush. I was so happy to see instant results like that. I made a difference on that beach and that’s the best feeling above all on this trip. Seeing what you’ve been able to accomplish.
After our worksites we got some ocean time in. Cottages by the Sea has amazing views and a great beach. It’s so nice to wake up and smell the beach every day. Smelling the beach at any time of the day is just amazing.
For dinner we went to a really cute little place in the rain forest. When we were driving there I started to notice more of the town. It feels like there are people everywhere. You are never on a street that doesn’t have someone. I love that here. I love always being able to see someone. And everyone waves and says good morning, or afternoon, or night. Everyone is so friendly and willing to talk to you and share their story.
Right after dinner we left for turtle watch! It was so cool. We got to the beach (the same one we were working at that day) and met up with our tour guide person. It wasn’t really a tour, but for lack of better words, that’s what I’ll call her. I believe her name was Christina! She took us to a spot on the beach where we would sit and wait until someone radioed us about a turtle. We talked a lot about turtles and what they do and just really random questions and everything. I did get to learn a lot about turtles which was really cool. It was probably about an hour before there was a turtle. We traveled down the beach to see her and she was huge! She was 153cm long and 108cm wide. She was incredible. When we got there she was digging her nest. Unfortunately, she ended up digging too close to the water so her nest got water in it, so the researchers had to help move her eggs. I got to touch her and everything and that was so cool. I was pretty nervous to touch her because leatherbacks are extremely delicate. If you run your fingernail over their back, they will start to bleed. And it was also cool to see her eggs. They are about the size of a cue ball in pool. She lays roughly 80 of those eggs in every sitting, and then she lays 20 yolkless eggs. I’m guessing to protect her babies from predators, but no one really knows the real reason. Leatherbacks are quite a mysterious animal. No one really knows a lot about them because they can dive so deep. I think Christina told us that they can dive 3000ft+ down. One thing that really bothered me, and a bunch of others, is that they were going to drill a camera into her shell so that they could try to track her movements. This has never really been done before. The reason I have a problem with it is because we don’t really need to know where they go. I don’t really think it matters. Would it be cool? Probably. But what’s the point. There really isn’t one. And they were claiming that it wouldn’t hurt her. The turtle is in a trance when it is laying eggs, that’s how we got to touch her. The researchers were saying that it wouldn’t hurt because she doesn’t flinch when she’s in this trance, but if they bleed with one fingernail on their back, it will definitely hurt them. It’s basically humans feeling the need to know anything and everything. That is just going too far. I appreciate them moving the nest to save it and them doing what they can to actually save the turtles, but we don’t need to invade their space with a camera.
All in all, day 6 was a great day! Let’s get day 7 rolling.