Remember all that running around on dark beaches that we did back in Santa Rosa at Playa Naranjo, looking desperately for nesting or hatching turtles? Well, I do. A total of four sleepless hours without moon, just red flashlights searching the jaguar-infested sand for little baby turtles… we saw lots of interesting crabs, but not much else.
But today, the turtles finally found us. Or at least this one did:
He came swimming in over the reef, straight toward Seth, who was very pleased with his find, and Jill, who could not contain the awesomeness:
Not sure why he was in so close to shore, but I’m glad he came by for a visit. I’ve loved sea turtles since I was little, on the beach in Hawaii.
This one was a new species for me: a hawksbill turtle, Eretmochelys imbricate. These turtles aren’t herbivorous like the Chelonia mydas (green sea turtles) that I know from Hawaii, but prefer to eat reef sponges. Since the coral’s taken such a hit from disease and acidification of the oceans, sponges have proliferated along this reef- might that be beneficial for the CITES-listed, once-hunted, critically endangered Hawksbill?
All in all, a very beautiful and successful day at the beach- we had our first dive (camera-less, sorry, didn’t want to have to think about that plus all the gear on my first dive in two years) and everyone checked out with skills, and we made plans for a night snorkel tomorrow after dinner! We’ll be figuring out research projects to start on tomorrow as well- post any reef questions or comments that we might be able to investigate in the comments!
Life is pretty sweet. The adventure continues.