Saturday, September 12, 2009
DH and I had two turtle date nights - dinner take out on the beach, a little dessert, hanging out with the other turtle watches, chatting, holding hands, making up silly turtle-hatching songs. Beautiful stars, no rain, mild breeze - and no baby turtles. Sigh. It's nice having the time together to just hang out and not be interrupted by our usual busy lives, or our addiction to technologies - but we'd really like to see the babies come out and scurry down to the beach!!!!
The day after the hatching, the scientists go and excavate the nest, looking for unhatched eggs, counting the broken eggs, and most importantly, to help out the little babies who are on the bottom of the nest and who usually don't have the energy to get out by themselves. So the scientists check those hatchlings out, measure them, see if they're too tired or dehydrated to swim out - sometimes they take them back to Coral World for a few days of rest and hydration before they bring them back to the beach and set them free.
So maybe if we miss the actual hatching (or even if we're there for it) we can also help with the nest excavation. I'd love to hold a tiny baby turtle!!!!
Friday, September 11, 2009
DH stayed home again - he's been working weekends and extra hours to finish a brief that's due Monday. I ate at home, grabbed my blueberries and water, and headed out to the beach.
The usual group was a little farther away from the fenced nest area than usual, so I asked if something was up - they said no, they just ended up over more to the side. I laughed and said I always feel like if I'm not smack dab in front of the area, I think I'll miss something major. They laughed, I went and parked myself right in front of the area that's beginning to sink a bit (so our turtle experts think that's the nest area).
Mild night but not muggy, nice stars, nothing eventful. A little bit of chatting, but I found I was dozing off by about 9 PM so I said goodnight and left. I did draw a picture of a turtle in front of the nest, with an arrow pointing to the sea, so that the babies will know which way to go.
That was night 60, which is about the average incubation period. So we'll try again tonight.
Our shift is supposed to be from 6 to 10 PM, but some nights I'm a bit late, some nights I leave early - it's pretty fluid. I don't think anyone is staying overnight, because the babies usually hatch during the day, come toward the surface, and wait for after sunset when the sand cools down. So if they aren't out by 10 PM, chances are they won't hatch that day. There are cases when they come out during the night, or early morning, or even mid-day - but those are not the norm, and we're just going with the usual. (There are a few people who check the nest in the early morning, 6 AM or so, looking for hatchling tracks - haven't seen any of those yet either.)
I'm going to be a turtle expert by the time we're done!!!!!
Thursday, September 10, 2009
DH opted to stay home for the Yankees game, so I went to my 5:30 synagogue membership committee meeting, and then on to the beach - arrived about 6:45, to find crowds. Well, maybe 12 people - but 4 were at a folding table with dinner and wine and everything!!!!! I sat down and ate my PB on a multigrain bagel, and my apple. Others arrived, complete with dog wearing a flashing red light collar (?????) - they spent much of the evening in the water with the dog, throwing things for him to retrieve.
Warm night, nice stars, some mosquitoes, no turtles.
We chatted a bit, sat and vegged out a bit, called to the turtles a bit.
On the up side, the other nest at the next beach over hasn't hatched yet either, so maybe this year's batch of babies are just running late.
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
DH didn't want to go, so I made supper at home and then went to the beach by myself. There were the usuals - our Coral World staff, an older woman who has been there almost every night, and then new people, a couple with their dog (they didn't say a word to the rest of us all evening). Another nice evening of stars, nice chatting with the people for a bit - then we sat and sat and sat. One of the staffers showed us iPhone photos of the hawksbill turtles who hatched last month on the north side of the island - so cute, little tiny guys skittering down the beach and then gliding off in the water. Made me even more excited about what we're doing!
So - tonight looks rainy, I'll pack an umbrella in addition to the rain jacket. Tonight is night 59 since the eggs were laid, and the average incubation period is 60 nights - so let's home this is the night!
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
DH and I skipped Sunday, we were tired and the previous night had been too yucky. We headed down on Monday night, armed with Chinese takeout, fruit, water, chairs, rainjackets just in case.
It was a beautiful night, with stars, the Milky Way was visible, I saw a shooting star. DH and I tried to send telepathic messages to the turtles, but they didn't come out. We sat, we waited, DH kept chanting Om, Om, but no baby turtles.
We had probably 12 people hanging out last night, coming and going. Teens from schools. Adults like us. The Coral World staff. Everyone waiting for these little turtles, who, like most babies, are taking their sweet time before arriving in the world.
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