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Encounters with turtles

In our cruising in the Caribbean we've encountered turtles on three occasions:

1. There's an adult turtle who lives in Christmas Cove (east end of St. Thomas) who can out swim anyone!

2. Then, one day walking on the beach at Culibrita (Spanish Virgins) we encountered this little guy making his was the wrong way up the beach. We turned him around and made sure he made it through the surf and on his way to sea.



3. The third and most dramatic encounter occured on a windward beach in Trinidad where we had the opportunity to observe the nest building of leatherbacks. All of this was supervised by local environmental volunteers (blue uniforms in the photo below) who kept us from interfering, but during the egg laying process the females go to a trance of sorts and it's possible to take flash photos without them being bothered. This lady laid over 100 eggs (count kept by one of the tourist observers). The belt under her mid section was placed by the supervisors who determined that this turtle had not been tagged before and so she way tagged and weighed after the egg laying process. The strap was attached to a tripod and strain guage and indicated she tipped out at over 700 pounds. When she was finished laying the eggs, she first filled in the nest and then went on to build a "false nest" before returning to the surf. We were told that breeding females will return to the beach several times during a single season to lay eggs.

It's an amazing process to witness!!

 
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