Turtles of the Pacific

                After a few days of tropical rain, we finally got a break with some much needed sun.  I took advantage of the sunny day and went out into the water after breakfast. It was warm, the waves were decent and the temperature was perfect.

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First day not waking up to rain

                Amanda, Benjamin and Elisa (new friends from the tuk tuk ride) all signed up for a tour of a turtle reserve at one in the afternoon. They invited me to go with them. Other hostel guests were coming along as well. The whole group of ten of us packed ourselves into two different Tuk Tuks. Packed like sardines, we scooted through the town and crossed over a wooden bridge to the edge of the town. Our little three-wheeled clown cars did us well.

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                  At the end of the bridge we got off and got to walking. We walked single-file through the bush and got to the beach. It was beautiful. There was nothing to see for miles on each side except for long stretches of green ending where the sand started. The clouds were immense and felt like they went on for ages.

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                   Unfortunately, we live on a planet full of environmentally unaware people, so the beaches were also littered with trash that had washed up from all around the world. It was bittersweet seeing how awe-inspiringly beautiful it all was, because then you look a few steps from you and you see a flip flop or a petrol can.

Okay, let’s try focus on the positive here, Conor.

                   After a two hour walk in the sand, we arrived at our guide’s finca. He runs it with most of his family. It was a simple spot with some hammocks and a wooden house in the middle.

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                   In Colombia, like many other coastal facing countries, sea turtles are at risk of extinction. Many people like to eat turtle meat and turtle eggs, making turtle preservation a difficult process. Our guide’s job was to walk along the beach all day looking for eggs. Once he finds the eggs, he moves them to a secure area to let them hatch, then he would bring the baby turtles to the beach to leave for the ocean.

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Safe from predators

                  We brought out a bucket of baby turtles and waited for the right conditions before we let them go. The main concerns were the tide, the temperature, and the debris (beach wood, trash). Around sunset, our guide brought the bucket over to the water and tipped it to let those cute little bastards out.

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Starting their journey

                   They slapped their little fins against the wet sand and got going. The collective “aaaaawwww” from all of us probably scared them right into the ocean. We all watched as one little guy rolled onto his back and couldn’t get up. He eventually flipped himself over. After about thirty minutes, the last little scrub finally made it into the water.

It was a great moment: a beautiful setting sun over the pacific, baby turtles making first steps into their lives, and a couple of strangers there to enjoy it all together.

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If you want more information about this conservation effort, you can contact them on Facebook, they are a growing organisation and would love the help


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