We were talking about how we really wanted to see turtles. Friday is a full moon so it should be a decent time to see some sea turtles at night.
Well, no time like the present. Or so they say. Some local came up to the little restaurant we were at and said that turtles would be coming out in 10 minutes! There is a volunteer group on the beach in Montezuma that collects turtle eggs at night and protects them so that people and animals will not damage the eggs before they hatch.
One of the nests had hatched and the turtle volunteers were about to set them free!
A small group gathered as we walked the path to the beach, which is even beautiful at night. The waves appeared to be glowing. I was told it is a special type of plankton that glows. A second person told me it had to do with the high salt content reflecting off of the moonlight. I don't know. All I know is that I have never seen glowing waves before and I was amazed.
Anyways, we got to the turtle hatchery and there were a bunch of teeny tiny baby sea turtles in a large bucket. Each nest has 104 eggs so we had a few minutes to ooh and aww over the little fellows while waiting for the remainder of the eggs to hatch.
When all were hatched, the group that had gathered was told to walk down the beach a bit. The turtle volunteers stopped in an area of sand free from drift wood and rocks. They had drawn a huge rectangle in the sand and all of the onlookers had to stay outside of the rectangle. They called it "the runway."
One by one, the volunteer took the babies out of the bucket and carefully placed them in the sand. And they were off! The little tortugas knew exactly what to do. They started crawling (do turtles crawl?) straight toward the sea.
It was beautiful to see God's creatures out in their natural habitat. Here are these teeny tiny turtles in this huge beach. Only moments ago have they entered the world, yet they already know exactly what to do. Confidently each turtle headed out to the big, dark sea; not for a moment did I see any turtle fight to stay in the bucket. These infant turtles were not following their mother turtle, sheepishly taking each step or waiting to see momma's next move. No, these babies just headed out into the sea because they knew that's where they are supposed to be. Within 20 minutes all 104 tiny tortugas had moved on to the next phase of their lives. They will "just keep swimming, swimming, swimming."
My pictures and video are of low quality because we could not use flash, only a red light. Can you make out the turtle shapes?
If this video works, here they are heading out for their first swim!