Well, I guess it is my turn to post. Last night started out wet and rainy on the beach but luckily I was not on the beach! Niki and I headed down to Fort Lauderdale to take part in the launch of Kirstin and Garys new sailboat "the wandering albatross
". They have building a sailboat for some time and she is big, beautiful and almost ready to sail away!
By the time I got out on the beach, the rain had just stopped and the turtles ALL
arrived on the beach to nest at the same time. I have really never seen anything like it! I sat watching maybe 6 or 7 loggerheads crawling up the beach for a while before I figured out there might be a leatherback doing the same thing. Up the beach I found Georgia
just covering her nest. That turtle is GIANT!!
Our largest turtle is an unmistakable sight - she looks like a small car crawling down the beach. She really does look like a car! I know because not too long after I saw her, I saw an actual car driving along the beach. Yes, someone had driven the car (of course it is against the law!) from the Jupiter Inlet down the beach in the wet sand almost a mile and then turned around and left. They even got out and looked at a nesting loggerhead! People are wierd!
I also found another nesting leatherback. Sedna is an interesting turtle. Kelly and I noticed a large "bump" in her shoulder when we first observed her last month. The mass really felt like a large embedded fishing hook - the kind typically used in long-line fisheries. Unfortunately we had really no way of finding out what the mass contained without cutting it open or X-Rays (which might be hard on the beach...)We wondered if there was another way to find out what was in there and realized we could use a metal detector to see if the mass contained metal. Sure enough, Sedna came back and we determined the mass does in fact contain metal! More evidence that many of the turtles we observe, have interacted with commercial fisheries.
Look at the mass in Sedna's shoulder - we typically see scars in this area. The black wand device is our metal detector which we use to scan nesting leatherbacks for metal.