Thursday, November 26, 2009

Jag walk

Sunday’s jag walkers enjoyed excellent conditions for their 15 miles; overcast and rainy all the way made the going good for scholars Jo and Jess and interns Molly, Helen and Sam.

It was Jo’s first jag walk as patrol leader, and Jess’s first complete
jag walk. A pre-existing shoulder injury had kept her off the previous surveys and
with 17 weeks in the field she was very glad to at last get out onto that long stretch of beach and reach that famous mile 18 marker.

The rain did create a few problems: the marker pens used for dead turtle numbering failed, and the team had to come up with some makeshift solutions (see photos).

Their first turtle carcass was an interesting one: missing its plastron and partially covered by a plastic bag. Analyzing the photos back at base, project manager Sarah Durose later concluded this was a case of poaching. Thus, whilst still documented, it won’t be added to the predation data.

New turtles were few, with nesting tailing off now even on Tortuguero beach, but the team were please to record a high presence of fresh jag prints along the length of the survey. This is part of what makes jag walk so highly prized: knowing they’re out there, watching us watching them...

(Photos: Above: Jess, Sam,Helen and Molly eat their truly enormous sandwiches in the rain. Below: a wet jag walk meant some improvisation for the numbering of dead turtles.)