Sunday, October 16, 2011
THE INTERESTING LIFE OF A SEA TURTLE
When my sixteen-year-old son begged to return to Cancun for a family vacation, I was not too thrilled. Cancun was the last place I wanted to go. We had already been to the same resort twice before. Finally, my son mentioned practicing his Spanish and doing an extra credit report for his level three Spanish class for the 2011-201 school year. Well, that idea sold me and my husband immediately booked our vacation to Cancun.
Off to Cancun we went. The first night at the resort turned out to be the most exciting night of my life. Much to my surprise, I learned that it was the sea turtle season in Cancun. That night seven female sea turtles came to shore to lay their eggs.
I dashed out to the beach and witnessed the most amazing display of a female sea turtle trudging her heavy body to shore. I love sea turtles. I think they are the most incredible creatures ever. As a child I came across a stranded sea turtle near my home in Haiti, but this was the first time I actually saw the turtle come to shore and lay her eggs.
Seeing the stranded sea turtle as a child left me speechless. I wanted so badly to help return the turtle back to the ocean, but my father had other plans. He had the maid make soup out of the turtle. That horrible experience stayed ingrained in my subconscious. This led me to write my first picture book about a stranded sea turtle. http://marieandherfriendtheseaturtle.blogspot.com
You can now imagine my excitement when I learned it was the sea turtle season in Cancun. The next night I stayed up until two A.M watching and taking pictures of the sea turtles.
I am happy to report that the Mexican government understands that sea turtles are endangered, so they have a special agency assigned to protect the eggs. Once the mother turtle lays her eggs, the eggs are removed and buried in a protected area. I had a chance to speak with the individuals responsible for removing the eggs. They informed me all female sea turtles go into a trance while laying their eggs and that is how the individuals hired by the agency are able to remove the eggs.
The resort has hired extra security personnel that monitor the beach at night. Turtle eggs are a delicacy to some people. Sometimes they steal the eggs and sell them for money.
Before returning home, I also spoke to Vinny, the head security personnel. He shared the following pictures with me:
The eggs will start hatching starting in September. The sad news is most of the hatchlings will not survive. Only three out of each batch will turn into adult sea turtles. The male turtles will never come back to shore, but the female turtles will return to the beach they were hatched at.
Below are the pictures I took: