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trinidad june 2001: turtle release

2012-08-14 - 8:28 p.m.

One of the rock tumbling guys posted his pictures of releasing a baby turtle in Mexico. In response I left this:

Brings back the memories. We visited Trinidad in June 2001, and at this time, it was near the end of the egg-laying season, and turtles from early in the season were already hatching out. They had thousands of vultures waiting for the babies to hatch so we tourists "helped" escort the babies of the night run to the sea. Here are the babies that hatched before dark, thus needed to be picked up by the guides:

baby sea turtles

Here's the one they let me "help" get safe to sea:

my baby turtle

Much, much later, at full dark, a mother came in to lay eggs. You cannot use any light or flash until the mother turtle is already dug in safely and in the egg-laying trance, at which point she will not stop or be bothered by anything, and they do allow pictures and petting. Remember, it was full dark, no moon, with no visibility before they said it was safe to turn on the spotlight. I did not understand how big these turtles were, and I admit it...when I suddenly saw the animal instead of a shadow moving in darkness, I screamed! They're as big as alligators, only thicker!

sea turtle laying eggs

petting sea turtle

I was taking the photo. No way I was putting MY hand that close to that big head. But it was perfectly safe, and all went well. Not many people had digital cameras in those days, and the other couple in our group had a film camera. Their photos did not come out, so my pictures are floating around Scotland somewhere. :-) (Yes, we had a four person tour group. I don't know how we backed into that deal...blind luck, I guess. Also June is not the travel season for Trinidad.)

Good times. I appreciate the opportunity to reminisce! I wonder if it is the same species...Your babies look slimmer than ours. I think there are four species?

Update: As I went to grab the photos to share with the other guy, I got a pretty big scare. Our Trinidad photos are being stored on bellsouth. Oopsy. I guess they could vanish at any time, since we are no longer bellsouth customers. I copied and pasted to Photobucket as fast as I could. I wonder if we have any other photos stored nowhere else except on Bellsouth? I shudder to think...

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