Wednesday, July 4, 2012


I have been out snorkeling in soome unfamiliar places on an unsuccessful lionfish hunt around Petit Nevis and some of the other reefs on the south side of Bequia. Or maybe not finding any is a success.

But I also got roped into a couple of nights turtle watching. For some reason most of the leatherbacks nest on the beaches of Trinidad
where on some nights hundreds come ashore and they get mass hatches 2 months later. The mass hatches mean that the predators are soon sated and the survival rate is higher. On the beaches around Bequia it is mostly the smaller turtles that come ashore and nest but the odd leaatherback chooses here as well.

A fisherman had reported tracks on a beach a couple of months ago and we were looking to see if we had a hatch. As the baby turtles are hard wired to head towards the light after they emerge from the nest, the ones descended from those that are hard wired to lay at times and places that either the moon or the early morning sun will lead the babies to water and safety when they hatch 60 to 65 days later. Well the first night was a blank although a beautiful clear moonlight night, the second was miserable with cloud and squalls forcing us to huddle in a tiny leaky tent.
But it was all worth while when Preston came back from walking the next beach round to say that he had a hatch. We struggled over the rocks with the faintest glimmer of moonlight through the clouds and saw we were to late, the beach was clear. But 10 minutes later the last guy struggled to the surface, rested for a while allowing the rain to wash the sand off him/her then in a rapid scuttle made a bee line for the water and disappeared.

Sorry about the poor quality pics but I had to use my underwater camera for the hatchling and the Trini pic came from Prestons phone and was taken last year.

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