Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Turtle Walk #2

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A week has flown by and it's Sunday again, time to do the second 'Turtle Walk'. The alarm went off at 5:30 and I slowly drug myself out of the bed. Once my feet were moving across the floor, I was able to speed up a little. I hurriedly did my morning rituals, then put on my shorts, turtle shirt, name tag, and beach shoes, put the sea turtle pamphlets in my back pocket (just in case anyone on the beach asks about the sea turtle thing, I'm prepared. I'll just give them one of those.), put trash bags in my other pocket (One wasn't enough last week :-( ), and that's it, ready to go!I was kind of anxious to get started because I had heard some nests had been reported from Captiva, Bonita Beach and Ft Myers Beach.

It was still dark out and wet, the humidity is back once again, with the warmer weather. The birds were the only sounds I could hear. There wasn't a car anywhere on the streets.After getting to the beach and then a few seconds of thinking, it was decided to start out this time on the South side of the island so there would be a better view of the sunrise. Last time, after getting to the East end, the sun was already up a little way. It was really beautiful out with a wonderful sea breeze.

There were only two people on the beach at first. One gentleman came up behind me, crunching shells as he jogged past. As he went by he said, "Happy Mother's Day"! Just after he said that, my phone buzzed with a text message from one of my daughters, then buzzed three more times with texts from the other two daughters and one granddaughter. Yes, it is a ‘Happy Day’!

I watched for shells, as well as turtle tracks. There sure weren’t many there today. I was only tempted to pick up one small whelk lying all by itself in the edge of the water. The sky started turning pink, so I knew the sun was about to come up.

A few more people were beginning to appear on the beach near the light house. A couple of ladies were walking in the water, bent over in the infamous ‘Sanibel Stoop’. A little further on there was a man who was knee deep in the water, walking along with head phones on and moving a metal detector back and forth. Hmmm, I suppose he was searching for buried pirate treasure. I’m still wondering if he found anything. I hope he had better luck than I. My only finds today were in the form of trash on the sand.

At the tip of the island and light house, I had to take a sandy path around part of the beach because the high tide caused the water to be all the way up to some trees, and driftwood. After the slight detour, it was back to the beach again.

There were several small starfish that had been left high and dry on the sand, so I put each of them back into the water, hoping they wouldn’t die.As I got nearer to the fishing pier, there was a small stingray, swimming about a foot out in the water. Just after that I noticed a dark colored fin sticking up out of the water. I first thought maybe it was a shark, but a second later, I could tell it was a large dolphin. I watched it swimming around for a while and then went on with a smile on my face.

The sun was coming up now, a bright red. No matter how many times I see it, I always think it’s the most beautiful sunrise I’ve ever seen.

Because the tide was in, I had to bend way over to get under the walkway to the fishing pier. There were no fishermen there this morning. But someone had been there earlier because they left a wet t-shirt and pair of socks scattered on the sand for me to pick up. Just took a few steps further and found a child’s little beach shoe. Somebody’s mommy is probably mad this morning!

I looked back toward the fishing pier to see the sun shining brightly in the background; I had to stop to take another picture. Just after turning around it was time to crawl over a sea wall. Just past that, there was a shell of a small sea turtle and whatever was left of it. Someone had obviously already called in to report it because the shell had been marked with spray paint to show that it had already been documented.

There is a big, old tree standing all alone, near a private homeowners dock. The salt water has washed all the soil and sand away from it’s roots. I wonder how old it is, how long it will be able to stand and how many storms it has survived. I climbed up over it’s bare roots to travel on down the beach.

There was a young man walking along in the water with a dip net. Not sure what he was trying to catch. It was about that time, I realized the two red marker flags I had been carrying, were missing. I must have dropped them somewhere along the way! Darn, here I was at the end of the walk and now I needed to go back to look for them. To keep from making this long story any longer, I found them right where I had left the beach on that sandy trail detour. Someone had picked them up and stuck them in the sand.

So, this day’s adventure was over. Sadly there was no turtle crawl or nest to discover; maybe next time. There was a full bag of trash to carry away though.

Till next time……. you can keep track of the nesting statistics if you'd like.

Posted by Tootie at Sunday, May 11, 2008 2 comments

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