Friday, July 20, 2007

My new favorite animal

Last night I saw the most amazing thing, I got a chance to see leatherback sea turtles lay their eggs. It was amazing. I felt slightly intrusive, you know basically watching a woman give birth, but it was beautiful. They only come to a few beaches in the world and this beach in Trinidad happens to be one of them. Our guide was amazing he was truly passionate about the beach and the turtles. it took us forever to get there and when we started getting close to the beach we had to go through this unpaved road through the woods just to get to the beach. The beach and the area around it are protected by the government. So once we get to the beach we are told that we can not take pictures until the specified moment. There can be no light, because it will disturb the turtles. They did a test last year and it found that they can't see red so when light is needed our guide has this red light. I'm not gonna lie I was scared, because the water was so close and it wasn't swimmable water it was very dangerous.

So we're standing there and then all of a sudden we see two huge black spots coming out of the water and we're told that those are the turtles. I'm thinking that it can't be because the spots are huge it looks like a rock. Once the turtle has begun to create a nest we go over, and its the biggest thing I've ever seen. Her back fins search the sand for a right temperature and then she digs deep and lays her eggs, while she's laying her eggs she enters a trance like state and we can take pictures because the light will no longer disturb her. We even got to touch her very lightly of course, and she really felt like leather, very smooth leather. It was amazing to see this and to see all the wonderful things the organization is doing. They've successfully blocked a hotel from building on the beach, and have literally fist fought people trying to steal, hurt or harm the turtles. Now it is one of the most protected beaches for these turtles they have hundreds of turtles come there during the season to nest. Besides from seeing the Mama turtle lay her eggs the best thing was seeing the baby turtles on head out to the sea, and they will come back to this very beach when its their turn to lay eggs. What I also loved, is that she's a free independent turtle. When they've tried to raise them in captivity they've committed suicide because they just can't be locked in. The leatherback sea turtle is definitely my new favorite Animal!

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“I remember how being young and black and gay and lonely felt. A lot of it was fine, feeling I had the truth and the light and the key, but a lot of it was purely hell.” ~Audre Lorde