There are a whole bunch of these intriguing sea turtle nests sectioned off in front of our beach, where we live on this little sandbar, really, I mean like 6 or 7 within a block.
Needless to say we have been fascinated and hoping, hoping we can get a glimpse of some of them in action. Joseph in particular is our resident investigator of All Things Interesting, and has been going down, morning and night, to see what's up.
Well last Sunday morning, when Obi and the kids were walking to mass (I had gone earlier, alone, for one Isaac-free hour of prayer), they saw a neighbor a hootin' and a'hollerin' that a baby sea turtle had gotten lost in his yard, sadly, the opposite direction of Destination Water. Obi and the kids, including Joseph, had to hurry on to mass, but they called me, and I ran like lightening with Isaac on my hip (yes, I am completely capable of that) down to the water to see him let it go.
Apparently the nest had hatched in the middle of the night, and the majority of the little guys had been disoriented and gone in the wrong direction. So the guy let the little feller go, to fend himself against sea gulls, ghost crabs, and general loneliness.
So blessed to have witnessed that, and the neighbor said that in all 20 years of living here, he had never found a baby turtle milling about.
But oops! As amazing that was for Isaac and me to watch, it was the wrong thing to do. We found out later that if you find a disoriented hatchling, you should turn them over to the good volunteers of Turtle Time, and they will release the baby at night, when predators can't see it, and it can follow the moon. Sorry little buddy!
As you can imagine, Joseph was gravely disappointed he had missed watching the little swimmer on its maiden voyage, and has been more determined that ever to witness a nest hatch.
And last night it finally happened. He almost didn't go down. Annemarie was already asleep, the rest of us exhausted, and he didn't want to go alone. So he begged, like he always does, and Obi finally consented. Several moments later I got the call that it was happening.
Peter and Jude in their underwear (not pictured) and me in my geek glasses ran on down, into the starry, lightning filled night. Obi had called the peeps at turtle time, and within minutes several volunteers showed up. Waiting patiently in the dark, no flashlights allowed, we saw the half-foot wide hole that had caved in to let the hatchlings emerge. The funny faces, try as they might, were having a hard time getting out. The turtle time people assured us that once one or two made it out, the rest, most likely about a hundred, would swarm the beach, and it would all be over within minutes. Our job was to make sure they didn't make their way to the dunes and beach grass instead of the life-giving Gulf.
But it never happened. Only two little turtles did we ever see, and they were not exactly stellar specimens. They went in circles, their flippers looking lame from time to time, and with a bit of apathy. The volunteers, who had a good knowledge of such things, were perplexed. They concluded that the nest, which was actually past due for hatching, had endured some trauma and that the rest of the eggs hadn't developed, and our two little friends here were probably not very healthy.
Nevertheless, the volunteers helped them to the water, and they seemed to begrudgingly make their way off into the dark waters. Kind of depressing, really.
We were told that tomorrow morning (this morning) the famed Turtle Lady would come by and excavate the nest and discover what had happened, count the number of eggs that actually hatched. And that she loved an audience!
Joseph was out there pretty much at dawn, waiting. And so were other volunteers who had found this charming Charlie in a sand hole:
They are waiting for this evening to let the wee one go.
Meandering down the beach to see what was holding the Turtle Lady up, Joseph happened upon this monstrosity and called me using a borrowed phone from a stranger (he's not shy) to come check it out:
|forget the shark! Why the heck is Isaac in pink jammies?|
Limited wardrobe, folks.
Um, yes, that is a Bull Shark, quite possibly the most deadly shark in the world. And just a little one.
Ahem. Washed up right on the shore. Where we swim. Excuse me...
The hold up with the Turtle Lady was that she had discovered this in one of her nests. To be fair, the nest had already been deemed "not to be hatched," because it was far overdue, but the general public doesn't know this.
Pictured is a bottle of Clorox, A bottle of lighter fluid, a bottle of dish soap, upside down, right on top of the nest. A hand written (hand written are you idiots serious????) that said something to the effect that The Turtle Lady needs to go and that she is ruining their lives.
Now that is scary. I think the vast, incalculable majority of individuals who live on a beach are overwhelmed with the excitement of turtle season, and happily comply with issues that could effect their chances of success. Simple things like taking in lawn furniture at dusk, and turning out outdoor lighting at night.
But I guess for some people that is too much. So much that they would risk committing a Federal offense.
That, Dear Web Log, is far, far more frightening that Bull Sharks.
All in a morning! Geez! Let's get back to the Rome report already! Stuff needs to just stop happening!
Thanks to Jen for hosting these takes!