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Friday, July 1, 2016

False Crawl #6

I was called just after mid-night...huge turtle on the beach, at the very tip of the Cherry Grove Point....

I immediately went out...Low tide, beach is completely deserted, lightning way out over the ocean, beach is very, very wide with tide pools and deep ridges.

I walk toward a lone light, a good walk out on the hard packed sand. Light is almost at the end of the point.   A man and his very young daughter were just turning back toward the dunes, he was the one who called me.  Turtle was still on the beach but much closer to the water.  The man and his daughter left as I walked closer to the turtle, approaching her from behind.  Huge Mama, slowly making her way back to the ocean.  I checked her out to make sure she was not injured or sick, she appeared in good condition, a few barnacles but not many.  

I stood in the darkness and watched her for a good 15 minutes. Lightning still going off every few minutes way out over the ocean. She would crawl a few feet and then stop to rest.  Crawl and rest,  we do not realize how hard it is for these turtles to crawl out of the ocean and up the beach.  She never made it past the tide pools of low tide, before she did a huge u-turn and headed back toward the ocean.  Her tracks will be erased by the high tide.  If she had not turned back to the water, she would have had to crawled another half hour to make it above the high tide line and the dunes. 

It is now 1AM....Just arrived home....Storm has moved on shore, lightning is much closer, thunder is rumbling.    

Will she be back in the morning.....will she come in at high tide....

I think of the sea turtles as the ghosts of the ocean.  They come in under cover of darkness, do what is required for survival of their species, the courage it takes to go unprotected into an alien environment, all they want is to be left alone, in peace and quiet.  Most times they are back in the water by sunrise, maybe looking at us as we get excited about their huge tracks, the only visible sign that they visited our world. 

How many times does this happen and go unreported?  NMB never sleeps.  People are out with flashlights all night long.  Many nesting turtles may be scared off just as they are coming ashore.  Many more may be crawling up the beach when someone comes up on them, instead of leaving them alone, they need to shine lights, take pictures, even touch them.  We will never know but this is becoming a huge problem.   


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