A group of 13 cruisers travelled a couple of hours each way in a rather uncomfortable minibus to the NE coast of Grenada on Friday evening, in the hope of seeing some turtles depositing their eggs in the sand. They return to a beach near to where they hatched after 15 years of roaming the oceans.
We were rewarded well, seeing a huge leatherback making her nest and depositing over 100 round white eggs in the 2 foot hole she had dug. Unfortunately she had chosen a site too close to the shore, so the researchers had to collect the eggs as they came out, to lay higher up the beach later on. On the top they put the unfertilised eggs, which they believe shrivel up, giving some airspace for the hatchlings. They could also be a protective measure in the hope predators will eat those first before finding the fertilised eggs.
Her shell was incredibly shiny and smooth, just like leather! We could all touch the female, as she was very docile, being in a trance whilst she laid the eggs. We learned a lot about the turtles from the guides, about their life cycle, the immense depths they can go to in the oceans in search of jellyfish to eat and the distances they swim from colder waters to lay their eggs.
After the last egg was deposited, she began to get more active and used her strong back flippers to push sand into the hole (not knowing it was empty this time) and compacting it hard to keep them safe. She then swept big circles to put more sand on the top and moved along the beach to make a decoy nest, before returning to the sea to let the eggs fend for themselves.
During our walk back, we were delighted to see little footprints going towards the sea and found some tiny little turtles about 2 inches long, newly hatched, lying on the sand. Initially they looked dead, totally exhausted by their 2 foot climb through the sand. After a while, some awoke and began the hazardous journey to the sea. Only 1 in 1000 survives to adulthood and no wonder. We weren’t allowed to help them over any obstacles, as they had to build up their muscles for the more hazardous journey in the ocean ahead.
It was an amazing experience and something we had wanted to do for some time but we were often too late in the season to get on a tour.
It was the end of term Spelling and Reading Contest at the Saturday school, followed by lunch for the 65 of us there. The winner of the spelling competition was a tiny little girl of 8, way younger than some of the other entrants.
Everest and Jeanne Pascal have run the reader’s club for many years, in their garage and do a wonderful job. They gave a total of several hundred EC dollars to all the children who took part plus to the 4 who passed their Common Entrance Exam. Touchingly, a young man of 18 came along to thank them as he just finished high school and should be going to University in the autumn.
We were rooting for Roger Federer in his attempt at the record breaking 8th Wimbledon title but it wasn’t to be sadly. Great match though. Rob saw the Grand Prix too with Lewis Hamilton winning in Silverstone, England. Grenada will be proud ☺
I am still suffering with my painful, weak arm joints but some days I am better than others. With Rob needing an operation for his dislocating shoulder and me unable to do some basic tasks on the boat due to 1 mosquito bite, we are hoping this isn’t going to be the end of our adventure, as there are a few more places we really want to see, such as Guyana, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Bahamas and the east coast of the USA. We should know more in a couple of months after speaking to a consultant in Trinidad and the UK but for now we can’t plan ahead and will have to leave Beyzano ashore next month, not knowing when we can return to her. Sad state of affairs but we are grateful to have had 3 years already. Perhaps we were wrong to enjoy the Eastern Caribbean so much and linger in the lovely islands. I hope we don’t look back and think we should have got on with it instead of thinking we had more time. Good lesson in life!