Thursday, July 26, 2012

Under the Sea

In an attempt to NOT make you feel as though you are at your friends’ house watching their family vacation slide show, I have condensed our hundreds of photos to sixteen for today. For today, may be the pivitol phrase.
On our trip, we were very fortunate to have several sea turtle encounters. First of all, we were able to see the turtles feeding near the beach while snorkeling. This enabled Ben and Scarlett to see them. (Thanks to Chris loaning us his underwater camera equipment, Barry was able to photograph them.)

There were other sea dwellers there. 

Barry and Brett had their diving certifications so they went deeper and saw more coral and larger turtles than the rest of us. They even found a lion fish. I am glad that particular fish was in the deep.

The sea turtles were laying eggs every night, too. As you might suspect nothing involving turtles is very fast. Plus, as the family also learned, the turtle “experts” were interesting in their own way. Shannon remarked, “everyone out on the beach at night watching for the turtles is an expert.” What makes someone an expert? We concluded:
  1. You must have a red light only.
  2. You need to speak in a whisper.
  3. You need to be very patient.
  4. You need to have a walkie-talkie.
  5. A tee-shirt that says “No Tocar” (no touching) would be perfect, but not necessary.
  6. The real experts actually have other better qualifications, I just don’t know them.
We had one flashlight with a red light. That was where our expertise began and ended.
That did not stop Brett though. He went out every night and by the end of the trip, he was helping the real turtle expert. 
The children were really more interested in the hermit crabs. Hermit crab races are always a huge hit in the evenings. Ben, Scarlett, and Ava spent any free time capturing hermit crabs, evaluating their speed, and planning a winning strategy. Of course there were the inevitable pinched fingers that resulted in blood curdling screams that convinced parents their child had just been eaten by a shark. But that did not dissuade them at all. As you can see, they captured a few. 

The races were so much fun for them, this was the reaction, when said races were deemed over.

The next to last evening, Brett, Shannon, Ben and Scarlett, decided to search further down the beach for the most magnificent of hermit crabs after the rest of us went to bed. 
Soon after, Brett came running in to tell us there were baby turtles. Out we went. 
Ben had spied what he thought was the fastest of all hermit crabs heading to a porch. In actuality, it was a newly hatched baby sea turtle. (When they hatch they go toward the light. If people don’t have red lights on the beach side of their residents or leave their lights on, it confuses the babies). Instead it was five baby sea turtles totally disoriented. A “turtle expert” (he had the red light and walkie talkie, anyway) let Ben and Scarlett carry the five turtles to the water and release them.

I named them, Ben, Scarlett, Ava, Lucy, and Cora, even though no one asked them to be named. 
Ben is on his way to being an environmentalist, I believe. We will have to get him a red light, walkie talkie, and a “No Tocar” shirt.
The next morning the actual turtle specialist came by and asked Brett to show him where the nest was so he could count the egg shells. We don’t really know who the other man was, but Brett was now an official helper (which means, he, too, will need a walkie talkie).

But, most importantly, five little turtles were saved. 

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  1. I don't mean to contradict your post Jan, but it was I who loaned the camera.

    1. That's okay, Joe. I want the credit to go to the right person. It is a great camera.

  2. I can't wait to see more of the pictures from your collection!

  3. What a crazy awesome vacation you had! I love your photos and especially the ones about the baby turtles! We went snorkeling on our last vacation but haven't become brave enough to scuba dive. Beautiful underwater shots!