Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Mating Time Is Here

If you happen to be on the island now and for the next few days, you are in luck. Get yourself down to South Point around 6:30 to 7:00 PM and you can watch all the mating going on there.

The turtles have arrived for their annual mating rituals and there are hundreds of them bobbing around in the water, coming up for air in between their turtle foreplay. It is an amazing site to see all of these turtles in one place. Well, actually you can see them scattered from my house south, but the greatest accumulation is at South Point.

They are a bit too far out and too sporadic in their bobbing to get any pictures. But you can see them fine with the naked eye.

In about a month the females will return and start laying their eggs on the beaches of the east side of the island. Another amazing event to watch. Strictly no picture taking, flashes or flashlights are allowed at this time. It will frighten the mothers-to-be back into the water before they accomplish their strenuous task.

If you are lucky, like we were last night, you will see a pod of dolphins playing around in the water near them.

I'm going back for another look tonight.


Arizona Kelly said...

Wayne, a couple of years ago we got to watch three of them lay there eggs on the beach, just down the street from our house (and yours). It was amazing.

The guys from the turtle farm were there and when she was almost done they turned on big lights and started measuring her, documenting everything,counting and collecting the eggs. We got to help harvest the eggs. It was an incredible evening.

But the story doesn't end there. We were back on the island two months later and took friends over to the turtle farm. We noticed babies hatching out of the sand in one of the pens. Lots of them. One had flipped over on its back. Alerted the workers and they had us help transport them by the handful inside into a tank.

We asked about the gestation period of that type of turtle and the guy said 60 days. Hmmm... are these the babies we saw being laid out in front of our house? We like to think so!


CancunCanuck said...

Awww, turtle love! What a sight that must have been, turtles and dolphins, oh my, the GOOD things about where we live.

Do I see the purchase of a big zoom lens in your future? ;-)

Mark & Donna #709 said...

How exciting! My daugther and I will be on the island beginning 7/23, so maybe we will be lucky enough to see the females coming back to nest! Cool!

Anonymous said...

Last week on Sanibel Island there were some roped off areas on the beach because of the turtles laying eggs. They must be a bit ahead of scheduled in Florida.

Kelly, I remember seeing your photos of the turtles. They were great.

Babs said...

THAT is what life is all about! Pardon the pun.......
"Gypsy Kid" son is a wildlife biologist and was doing turtle research at South Padre for a few years.....took all my grandkids to see the hatchlings one year and they ALL still talk about it!

Steve Cotton said...

Wayne -- Turtles and dolphins? Together? I will remind you of that the next time you post another "what have they done to my plaza" essay. You helped add to the cheer factor of the day. Thanks.

Shana said...

that's so cool! wish i was there to see it.

wayne said...

arizona kelly: you were indeed one of the lucky ones!

cc: er, maybe! I could sure use one for my what were they thinking series!

mark and donna: try the big beach on the east (ocean side) of the island across from what looks like a shanty town but is really a protest village. Or across from the new cemetary.

jackie: could be a different species of turtle. And, hey, are we cross commenting now!!! LOL!

babs: I have never seen the turtles hatching but I have seen them building their nests and laying. Something one never forgets.

shana: someday, someday...

steve: am i bitching too much about the plaza???

JoAnne in CT said...

We got to witness the laying and harvesting a few nights after Bob & Kelly's experience - that was our honeymoon trip when we stayed at Big Jim's! What a memory!

wayne said...

joanne: are you talking about the turtles still?

Mark & Donna #709 said...

Thanks! We will check it out near the shantytown.....I know right where that daughter will love it. Maybe we will luck out with a full or near full moon to help with visibility!

JoAnne in CT said...

LOL!!! Of course, Wayne!! I didn't even think that could have been taken otherwise when I posted it... perhaps the blonde hair dye is affecting my brain after all!!!

We had beers with Bob & Kelly under their palapa the day after they saw the turtles, and they told us all about it. The next night, we were heading into town and saw folks standing on the beach so we pulled the cart over and approached - sure enough, there was a mama digging her pit to start laying the eggs - what a sight!!