whew! very busy and lots of fun last night. the turtles kept us going until 5 am. we had a visitor again last night, Chris was here from NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (Miami) to deploy 2 PAT (Pop-up Archival Transmitting) tags. These special tags record temperature, light levels and dive depth as they are towed behind a leatherback, and store the data onboard until a pre-determined time (set by the researcher). At this time (90 days in our case) a special link on the tag corrodes in the salt water and the tag floats to the surface. Once on the surface the tag sends its data to an orbiting satellite (in the same way our satellite tags work for tracking turtles). From the data collected, important things can be discovered about leatherback behavior and water temperature profiles. Chris will be getting some data in about 90 days. We had 2 tags to deploy and thought we'd probably see at least 2 turtles. I found the first one, down on Singer Island and she was new. I waited until she laid eggs and gave her the standard procedure - new tags, genetic sample, measurements etc. she was a very small turtle at only 140 cm curved length (our average size is 151 cm). but she managed to nest rather quickly and I was anxious to get back up north. while I waited, chris had called to say he also had a turtle and he and chris (yes, confusing) were going to put a PAT tag on Foxxy (our last turtle from 2003). I traveled up the beach to see her while both Chris's went north in search of another. it wasn't long before they called with another 2003 turtle we've not seen yet this year - Sole. She was the recipient of the 2nd PAT tag. I made one more pass to the southern inlet, not finding anything, but on my way back, about 30 m away from where Foxxy had nested I found another new turtle! by this time it was 4 am. this new turtle was quite a bit bigger than the first and seemed to take a long time getting her eggs out (she eventually did). I gave her some tags and went to meet chris 1 in the office - he'd gone out to get snacks and we were starving! we took a break then in the office and filled out our data sheets like mad, catching up from the last few nights. we did manage to see all the turtles nesting last night in a 20 km stretch of beach, and deploy some special tags - a really successful night. tonight brings our total leatherback count to a RECORD number! we've now seen 66 individuals in one season, and we still have a month to go (the old record of 65 was set in 2003). one note about names of the new turtles... I promised my friend Trudy that I would try to get all her 3 girls a turtle and so tonight we managed the last 2. the new ones are Shayna and Trudy (we already have an AJ, and a Paige).