Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Six Month Interns Interphase

So, here we are between phases, just back from our Spanish course in Nicaragua, really hoping to have to try out our new language “skills”.

It’s all quiet here on base, quite nice really, good to get away from all the noise of the towns that we’ve visited. But at the same time I personally can’t wait for all the new volunteers to arrive so that we can get stuck in to some surveys, get our wellies muddy! However, there are still some tasks to perform, a lot of them hum drum but a few of them a bit more interesting, take for example nest check:

Every morning we go out to check out the status of all the turtle nests on the beach, to see if they’ve been washed by the sea, predated, poached or just simply to note that they are fine. This late into the nesting season we also check to see if the nests have hatched. Normally this happens overnight, it’s safer for the hatchlings and cooler, but sometimes it will rain heavily and therefore the sand temperature will drop sufficiently for the little new-borns to assume it is night time and to venture out to make their way to the waves.

It was wonderful! We saw tracks and just glanced down them, it wasn’t even one of our marked nests so we had no information to record from it, and there were tiny little newly hatched leatherbacks at the end of the tracks. To have seen the fully grown adult version of these rendered them unbelievable. Their movements are comical, much like the movements of any babies, and their size makes even a little footprint an unsurpassable obstacle. We named them and watched as our little amigos made their way down the beach, my one won the race to the waves and then we laughed as they got tossed back up the beach by the force of the washing waves.

It is gratifying to know that we’re helping these beautiful creatures survive.

Tim Stephen