Slow and Steady Finally Shows Up

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:

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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:

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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.

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