December 11, 2012: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (!)
Yesterday our new friend (fellow Oregon Duck) Cheryl invited us to liberate some baby turtles. Hmm, who’s holding them captive? We went along – and were sure glad we did!
Turns out that the beach here at Neuvo Vallarta (just north of Puerto Vallarta) is one of Mexico’s most prolific turtle incubation beaches. (I know, I know, but yes! even with all of the hotels.)
So this organization, Ama Mexico, is behind all the turtles. Their biologists roam the beach at night and when they find a new nest, they carefully take all of the eggs (85 – 125 in each nest) to the incubation corrals (No, I’m not making this up) where they stay until hatched.
Then, within 24 hours of hatching, they are released at sunset (fewer predators then) and swim away. They weigh about an ounce when they leave and return about 8 years later weighing about 100 lbs. During the time they’re away they may travel up to 1,400 miles from here. Then, when it’s time to reproduce, back she comes. To the very beach where she was hatched. (They mate in the water and the males “swim away” afterward. They probably are too embarrassed to ask for directions back to the beach.)
As we prepared to liberate them, we “washed” our hands with wet sand. This gives the little ones a chance to imprint the beach, so that they can find it again. I’m not at all sure how that works, but it seems to.
The turtles liberated last night are Olive Ridley’s and are endangered worldwide.
That’s it for now – time for happy hour, it’s 5:30 PM and 86 degrees outside – Otro día en el paraíso!