Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Typical Day at the Office

What a big 24hrs we have had here at Jalova! After discovering a vast selection of snakes around the place including a large Fer-de-Lance, an Orange-bellied Littersnake and a small Boa Constrictor, we then received a phone call from the Jag Walk team with some exciting news….

In the blistering heat, there was a mirage on the horizon. Were we dreaming? Did we see a jaguar amongst the hordes of vultures? Wrong! There were two! Of course we only noticed that as we stealthily approached them from the bushes. It was very difficult to contain our excitement without disturbing them!  The first jag was protecting his kill, a monstrous leatherback turtle.  It was agonisingly close to returning to sea after completing its mammoth task of nesting.  The predator was getting increasingly agitated with the scavengers crowding around.  Suddenly, out of the corner of her eye, Nathalie caught a glimpse of the second jaguar emerging from the jungle. We were gobsmacked!   This surreal moment of being within 50m couldn’t last forever as we were eventually spotted.  As they returned to the jungle, one of the jags headed straight for us but luckily we didn’t look like big, tasty turtles, so they swiftly exited through the bushes!

The next morning…

Turtle Hatchlings!

We’d left base at 5:15am to head out for nest check. No sooner than ¼ mile from base, we came across dozens of tiny turtle hatchling tracks – Leatherbacks had hatched during the night and headed for the ocean! We followed the tracks to find the nest and lo and behold, two little hatchlings had been left behind. Completely buried in sand, all we could see was one tiny flipper sticking out, desperately trying to break free. We gently cleared away some of the sand to make a clear opening and after a few mins 2 perfectly formed little Leatherback hatchlings emerged. They were a bit disorientated at first but before long, using their amazing turtle instincts, they started heading down to the sea. Overcoming obstacles such as driftwood and seaweed they reached the shoreline. As the first wave splashed over them they frantically started flapping their little flippers. By the third wave they were off into the big wide world all on their own!

We couldn’t have asked for a better way to say farewell to Alex and Loraine after a year of hard work and dedication to the GVI team! Good luck guys!

- Written by Trish, Ros, Nathalie, Jess & Josh