Friday, April 6, 2012

Early Doors Green

It would be fair to say that things have started a little bit slowly this leatherback season as we have had several nights in a row of fruitless turtle patrols. The only comforting factor is that we haven’t been missing any turtles as nest check has not been seeing any new tracks either.
Earlier this week Rich headed out on night walk with Matt, Karen and Hayden to try and put an end to the record of zeroes for leatherbacks. Unfortunately the barren spell continued but once the team had walked down to Mile 15 1/8 there was an unexpected pleasant sight. A green turtle had climbed a small cliff and settled into a nice spot by the sea grape vegetation to nest.
Tracks are always a pleasant sight on night walk or nest check

The team excitedly set about collecting the data of the turtle, although they couldn’t mark the nest as the encounter time was just after the turtle had finished laying. It was every volunteers first green turtle and it made a happy sight. The lucky people who have seen a leatherback before are always surprised by the relative small size of the greens. Despite the fact that they would still be too large and heavy to lift, the comparison gives you the feeling that they are a little more fragile and delicate. The safety of the turtle was also a concern here as she had emerged to nest in prime jaguar territory. Only a couple of weeks previously a leatherback had hardly made it up the beach when it was attacked, a green stands even less of a chance than a leatherback, as we all know.

A Green Turtle safely back to sea
Fortunately this green made it safely back to the sea and the night patrol continued for another 4 hours. This time we didn’t see any further activity but the sight of the turtle kept everyone going.