• Day64

    Oh, I Love Turtles!

    February 14, 2020 in Mexico ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    We decided to do something out of the ordinary this Valentine’s Day so we booked a trip to the Verde-Comacho turtle sanctuary, about an hour north of Mazatlan. And what a great decision it was!

    When we arrived at the sanctuary, our guide, Misael, gave us the background on how the sanctuary came into being and told us a little about the Olive Ridley sea turtle, which is the main focus of this enterprise. We then went into the incubation room where the eggs that are collected from the beach are brought to hatch. We were shown two “nests” whose eggs had hatched and were to be released onto the sea within the next twenty four hours. The “nests” are actually styrofoam coolers that contain up to one hundred eggs laid by a mama turtle, along with the sand from the beach where they were laid. The smell from that sand will be imprinted into the hatchling’s memory and will guide them back to that same spot on the beach when it is their turn to lay eggs.

    As soon as the cover was lifted from the first cooler, Brenda turned to jelly and fell completely in love with a hundred or so baby reptiles. I must say, they were awfully cute!

    Then it was down to the beach where the six of us on the tour were each given two hatchlings to set free.

    When they first touch the sand, the hatchlings are clearly disoriented and surprised when the first wave hits them. But after that, with each successive wave, they paddle more and more frantically with their front fins, hoping to ride the tide to their new domain. They reminded me of surfers paddling hard to catch a wave. A couple of the babies needed a helping hand from Misael, but eventually, they were all swallowed up by the sea. It was quite a wonderful experience. Unfortunately, these little beasts are very popular snacks for the sea’s predators and only about one percent of the babies will ever make it to adulthood. But I’m confident my two releasees are fighters and will one day return to the beach here. Who knows, if I ever fall overboard on a cruise, maybe one of them will remember me and come to my rescue.

    After the release we went for a boat ride through a mangrove forest where we saw blue herons, crocodiles and iguanas. We were given the option of doing the tour in a kayak, but I found the idea of flipping upside down into crocodile infested brackish water somewhat unappealing.

    After we were brought back to our accommodations in town, we made our way to the Golden Zone and ate at Zab Thai, the best Thai restaurant in Mazatlan. Actually, it’s the only Thai restaurant in Mazatlan, so they don’t have to work too hard to be the best. The food was only OK, but it was nonetheless a nice change from Mexican. In any case, I got to spend a wonderful day with my lovely valentine.
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    A little bit bigger than the one I had around my neck in Cuba!


    A memorable and unique Valentine's Day indeed! We had amazing grass-fed beef tenderloin steak with a nice green salad then went to T&T downtown. b-boop

    Francie Palmer

    Nature is all so fascinating. I had the same experience on the beach in San José Cabo 4 yrs ago. F