Tuesday, February 22, 2011

18/02/11 Extra Terrestrial, Read all about it!

…and we are off! We have all had our lovely long weekends off, rebooted and ready to get straight back in to the thick of surveying on Monday morning.

So, Tuesday afternoon (15th Feb) saw myself, staff member April and three ‘marines’ doing the long turtle walk. The peak of turtle nesting has past and tracks have been few and far between recently BUT, never fear as we are all aware of the amount of nesting that has taken place too! (Plus, plenty of action in the water on the snurtles, remember, that is the turtle snorkelling survey!!)

This led to a delightful discovery of Hawksbill hatchlings heading to sea, half way along our favourite beach. All five of us were ‘ahhing’ and ‘oooing’ as these tiny (4cm carapaces- go on get the ruler out, it’s oh so small!) little turtles scrambled their way out of the nest and down the beach.It was heading for low tide and the hatchlings still managed to make their way out over the rocky foreshore towards the great ocean!

As our time came to an end on the beach, we all walked back to base with huge grins on our faces (some of us feeling all warm and lovely inside too- hey, why not?!!).

This is the second time I have seen Hawksbill hatchlings and yes, I am still in awe and no, it hasn’t quite sunk in yet!!

‘Fricking Fantastic Friday!!’ - ‘AGAIN!!!!!’

So the new terrestrial team headed out for the long turtle walk, like we do every Friday. We arrived on Anse Papaie, we spotted a track! (This was good news considering the sentence I wrote above!). Hang on a minute, that track leads to a turtle, no way…yes way it’s ‘Fricking Fantastic Friday’! This was brilliant as our newbies got to see a turtle for the first time and seeing a turtle on Anse Papaie is a first for us all!

The Hawksbill had finished laying and was in the process of covering up, within 15 minutes she had finished and headed for the sea, we measured her and got face photos for future reference. So we were lucky to spot her.

All happy with our spot on we head up and over (high tide, no wading this morning!!) to our last beach for the morning. I stopped to point out where we saw the hatchlings and no more than two metres in front was a fresh track.

A fresh track that led to a dig (egg chamber started) and then a track that led to another dig, that led to a track, that led to a TURTLE!!!!!!!! WHOOP WHOOP, oh yeah ‘Fricking Fantastic Friday’ it certainly is, no denying that (don’t want to get too excited but a wee pattern is emerging, no?!).

So third attempt was in the process when we arrived, soon a terrestrial eye spied a look in and spotted rocks and roots. This caused the Hawksbill to leave and move on to a 4th attempt.

Here she finally dug her egg chamber and was happy with it! Bless her flippers, I think she was a wee tired as she laid only 58 eggs. This is a small amount in comparison to what we have witnessed so far.

None the less we are a very happy bunch of ‘terrestrials’!!

Keep checking back for more ‘Extra special news!!’.