Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Excavation Excitement

Saturday saw the first survey day for phase 103 at Jalova and with some of the daytime turtle work having been on hold for the last few weeks, turtle nest excavations were the task of the day. With 13 outstanding since the end of June our new recruits were sent into the fore with field staff Jon, João and Andres.
Results were mixed, but all teams headed back to base with great satisfaction after collecting the first data of phase. However the walk was rudely disrupted by a surprising sight near the vegetation around mile 16 4/8. Andres called his team over to reveal that a Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) was beginning the process of digging her chamber, much to the amazement of everyone there. Turtles are rarely seen on the beach during the daytime. With everyone eager to see their first turtle Andres quickly radioed the other excavation team so they could get a chance to view her.

However this turtle didn’t really want to be seen either and she returned to sea shortly after without laying. There was still time for those lucky enough to bring cameras to take some great photos, an unlikely opportunity as it is illegal to take photos of turtles during the night without a permit. One such volunteer was Kyle McNulty who said “We were all ecstatic to see our first turtle, for it be a hawksbill made it all the more special.”