Releasing Baby Sea Turtles

BABIES!! What human being cannot get excited about baby animals? They are so darn cute! Apparently, only our daughters and I were the most excited for this but we made the boys go anyway. I was lucky enough to witness the hatching of baby sea turtles on our resort’s beach on the first day in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The teens had gone to get the others to come to the beach and missed all the action. Good thing we already had reservations for Turtle Camp a few days later. We booked our time online with Wildlife Connection

Baby sea turtle on its way to the ocean.

Sea Turtle Camp

The volunteer who met with us was very knowledgeable and told us much about sea turtles. Through Wildlife Connection, you are guaranteed to be able to release baby sea turtles. If not, you do get your money back. First you patrol the beach in search of mama’s laying eggs. We came at the end of laying season but luckily, we spotted some extra bird activity and found a female turtle digging her nest.

Since the turtles use the “white light” of the surf to guide them to the ocean, we had to view the laying of the eggs with a red light so as not to confuse the mom. We got to watch the complete process. It was so amazing! Watching Mama head back to the water slowly kind of gave me chills as I was so happy she was able to safely leave her eggs in hopes of continuing her species.

There is so much risk to these eggs as there are so many scavengers that dig them up and eat them – birds, lizards, etc. The camp workers will dig the eggs up later to be protected until hatching time.

Releasing the Turtles

Excitement was building in all of us as we headed back to the camp to release the turtles that had recently hatched safely. They were so CUTE! The volunteer had each of us select one turtle and we were going to have a race to the water. Having named our turtles and lined them up, we moved in front of them and shone our flashlights towards them to show them which way to go. Flash, Joey, Sam, Dolly, Sandy, and, the most original, Turtle were off to a good start. A few would turn around, confused. So we would have to use our flashlights to guide them back in the right direction.

That wasn’t even our biggest challenge. Once we got near the water, each wave had the chance to either wash the turtles back up onto the sand or whisk them away out into the ocean. When the waves went over your feet, you had to stand still until you were able to locate each turtle so that you didn’t risk stepping on one. I had one wave wash one of the baby sea turtles right over my feet….such a weird feeling.

After the turtle race, we went back up to the bucket of babies. The volunteer tipped over the bucket and gently let out the rest of the babies. We led them all to the water, and watched until all were headed out to hopefully live full lives and grow into adult turtles to begin the circle of life once more.

Bucket of baby sea turtles to be released.

See my website www.shellypriest.com to own your own baby sea turtle image. To read more about sea turtles see my blog: Snorkeling With Sea Turtles.

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