#70 help the turtles hatch

Update: November 9, 2010

after a little help getting the final foot of sand out of their nest, these little guys are heading for the open ocean

One more photo from the 2010 events! I just can’t stay away from these guys.

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I’m going to start with the first item on my list to actually be completed. I spend part of each year on Cozumel, Mexico, where I do quite a lot of scuba diving. I love turtles. I love looking up while scuba diving and watching a turtle head to the surface… That is actually my happy place, being underwater watching a turtle silhouetted by the sun.

03 Nov 2006 033

my happy place

Sea turtles nest in the sand on the beach, in a hole close to two feet below the surface of the sand. When she is finished laying her eggs in the hole, mama turtle fills it in and turns her back on it, leaving her turtlettes to fend for themselves once they hatch about two months later. When ready, the hatchlings will all leave their eggs, dig themselves to the surface and run like mad for the ocean. If left to their own devices, very few of them make it. Eggs get dug up and eaten, hatchlings fail to reach the surface, or once there they get picked off by hungry gulls looking for a nice dinner. In Cozumel (and lots of other places also) there are folks who are trying to help improve the chances of the little turtles, by marking the nesting sites, dating them, protecting them, and then returning 60 days or so later to dig them up.

In November 2008 I had a chance to go watch, and even to help. We followed the “turtle truck” until it stopped and watched while one fellow poked into the sand with a long stick until he located the nest (which was basically

Hatchlings

running to the ocean, all hundred of them

a big hole under the sand), then laid on the ground madly digging the sand out from on top of this hole… They gave me the opportunity to do it myself. It was fine, digging in the sand like a kid, until I hit the nest… this warm, wiggly pile of hard and soft stuff all mixed together. When I yelped “oooh!” great cheers went up, along with a shout of “HURRY!” So I hurried. I pulled handful after handful of tiny turtles, each one smaller than a deck of cards, out of the hole and set them on the ground at my side, where somehow they knew what to do next and they ran for all they were worth toward the ocean. Soon a stream of them were running – when it was all over the estimate was 110 to 120 turtles from this nest, all safely in the ocean. What a freaking rush!

DSC01920

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~ by ktatkins on November 3, 2009.

6 Responses to “#70 help the turtles hatch”

  1. Awesome! You rock Kari

  2. That is Amazing! Your an Earth Angel..Thankyou for sharing in the wonders of the world! Have a perfect day.

  3. Wow Kari! That is awesome! I added you to my google reader. That means everytime you post I will know and be able to read it!

  4. Thank you Keri for being there for those little guys and gals!!

  5. Man! brought tears to my eyes. What an amazing opportunity for you, these turtles and everything that will be touched just by their birth; like having one, one day swim over a new diver and allowing them to have the same appreciation for aquatic life as you.

    Thanks for allowing everyone who reads your stories to feel like they are in your shoes just for those moments. You need to write a book my friend

  6. […] We also visited the east side of the island last week to help with the turtle release. You can read about that adventure in Kari’s blog. […]

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