Last summer, we had two amazing encounters with sea turtles. You can read about our turtle walk when we helped mark new turtle nests here. And you can read about our experience, later in the summer, of watching the hatching of a turtle nest here.
After watching (and sort of helping) those adorable baby turtles get their start in life we told everyone we knew about it. Our only disappointment (if you can call it that) was that it was so dark. We could not see the hatchlings very well and could not take any pictures lest we disorient and confuse the baby turtles.
Anyway-- My daughter’s best friend wants to be a marine biologist when she grows up. So when she asked if she could come along for a turtle walk with us this year, we excitedly set up another date with the turtle walkers. We knew there are never any guarantees of actually seeing turtles but my mom, who is friends with lots of turtle walkers, promised to do all she could to work something out to, at least, give us the chance. She was successful!
So Saturday evening we arrived at the beach to witness a turtle nest excavation. The walkers wait a few days after a hatching and then they dig up the nest and remove the marking sticks. Each egg is examined and counted for the official records.
We stood back watching intently as the turtle walkers began their work. It wasn’t long before a live baby hatchling was discovered. It had been left behind when the nest hatched as sometimes happens and it had been stuck there in the sand trapped without its brothers and sisters to help it dig to the surface.
We ohhhed and ahhed over the little guy watching it scramble around in a bucket as the rest of the nest was excavated. Before all was said and done another three hatchlings were found. We took a ton of pictures of the cute little babies and wished them luck for their release which would come a few hours later after sundown.
Early Sunday morning, before the sun even came up, a nest was found with a tiny turtle head sticking out of it. They assumed the baby turtle had died and the nest had been drowned out somehow. But as it turned out it was just a hatching that came too late in the night. The babies stalled their digging mid-hatch due to the rising temperatures of the sand. The only thing to do was to dig up the nest and save the babies in a bucket until sundown. Otherwise they would likely die from dehydration or from an encounter with curious tourists. So my daughter, her friend, and my mother got to witness a second excavation, this time resulting in the saving of about a hundred baby turtles.
Later, since the rest of the family missed the early morning excitement, we got to get a peek at the hatchlings sleeping in their bucket in the turtle walker's garage. It is awesome to have so many connections in the turtle walking world!
As if all that wasn’t enough—we also celebrated my little one’s fourth birthday over the weekend. She is officially four years old today! Pre-school starts a week from now and I am full of mixed emotions as I realize how far from babyhood my baby is really getting. Mostly, though, I feel incredibly blessed to be her mother and to watch her grow and change.
|My newborn baby back in 2009|
|And this morning at 4 years old!|
One last point- really quick, as I know this post is going on forever- the irony of the situation with the turtles is not lost on me as I celebrate the anniversary of my fifth child’s birth (a child who at one point we feared may have serious health problems). The lengths that are gone to to protect and save baby sea turtles while allowing and condoning and, at times, even encouraging the murder of thousands of unborn baby humans every day is INSANE. I cannot help but wonder how things could get so mixed up in this country-- that animal life is valued but human life is disposable. So, even as I ohhed and ahhed over those baby turtles, I also prayed and mourned the human babies lost to abortion. Our world really needs it so-please, please, please pray with me!