Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Turtle Walk #1

Sunday, May 4, 2008


First I think I should tell you, I have a habit of not going to bed until the wee hours of the morning. But, because of this early morning adventure, I had decided to get to bed earlier so I could get up by 5:30. I'm not sure if it was because of habit or the anticipation of my first 'Turtle Walk', I couldn't sleep. Consequently I only got 3 hours of sleep before the alarm went off. No problem though, it was exciting to be up and out before daylight. I had already layed my 'turtle walking' clothes out, so quickly jumped into shorts, turtle volunteer t-shirt, put on my crocks, washed my face, brushed my teeth, combed my hair, grabbed a couple of red flags,(just incase there is a nest) stuffed some things in my pockets and I was ready!

After a quick stop at the 7 Eleven, arrived at the appointed beach access (East tip of Sanibel Island, beginning on bay side) by 6:15. It's really very beautiful out at that hour. It was barely light enough to see when starting out. Right next to the access and facing San Carlos Bay I got my first view of the most beautiful home! Somehow I had missed this particular spot when walking the beach before. Wow, how they must love sitting on their comfy patio furniture or staring out their huge windows and watching the boats sailing by.

There were lots of birds out; I guess it must be true that the 'early bird gets the worm'. There were Snowy Plovers running around on the beach. They are also considered endangered and the SCCF has organized volunteers to help by marking off their nesting areas, monitoring, etc. There is information about their efforts and more about the Snowy Plovers on their website. It was fun watching them scamper around on the sand. You had to look very carefully because of their color and size they are nearly invisible if you aren't watching for them.

I began to notice a few lights coming on in some of the homes. I guess some folks have a habit of rising early to enjoy the beautiful sunrise. The water was really calm, hardly any waves at all.

While walking along on a narrow beach, it was necessary to step over some limbs now and then, driftwood and sea walls. This could be pretty difficult if the tide isn't lower like it was this morning. But, it is a beautiful area to walk, so it can be dealt with somehow.

There were two small starfish that had been left stranded when the tide went out, so I put them back into the water. I also looked at the shells while walking along, just in case a treasure was laying in wait. But, no luck there.

I think I mentioned in the earlier post that we are to carry bags with us to put trash in. Before the fishing pier,which was about the half-way mark, there was already a growing assortment in the bag, one size HUGE man's beach shoe full of sand (did an idiot go home with one shoe on) , one pair of child's underwear, one face mask, one man's soggy tank top, a beat up rubber bathing cap, kids platic beach hoe, another beach toy, plastic bags of left over snacks and dozens of tissues, among other nasty stuff.Sorry, got a little off track there, so back to the story......

It was just barely light out when a fisherman passed, carrying all his gear. His head was hanging as he said hello, in passing. Hmm, not smiling? I'm guessing, no fish this morning!

As the Fishing Pier came into view, it was obvious that a very bright light shines on the beach there at night. Hmmm, isn't that a no,no that might keep turtles from coming onto the beach there? Will have to ask the Permitee about that, when calling in after the walk.

It's light out now and there is a lady a little way out in the water, doing the Sanibel Stoop. She looked up,smiled and said, "Good Morning", then went right back to her search for shells.

The light house is welcoming with it's blinking light; wonder if the light goes out after the sun comes up, or is it on 24/7? After going around the tip of the island, the sun came up. WOW a big beautiful red sun!

More and more people come into sight doing the ritual of their morning walks, or trying to find the first good shells of the day. There were many spots along this public beach area where someone had attempted a sand castle build, but obviously failed. There were also several huge holes, probably dug yesterday by energetic children. Kind of makes you get that fuzzy feeling, thinking about them having such a good time in paradise. But the opposite of that was the amount of trash laying on the beach. It's so sad to think people would be that careless. There was a big beach umbrella that had been left, that needed a tag put on it. The permittee will check at a later time, if it's still there, they will trash it.

The access where this zone ends is in sight. Thank goodness because the trash bag was running over! No signs of a turtle crawl today. The time is exactly 7:15 and time to call the Permittee with a report that is to be done before 7:30. Now it's either do the walk back by way of the beach again or a quick walk across by the street. For today, it's the quick route.

There was a First Turtle Walk Day Celebration in the form of breakfast at Jerry's. :-) Then home for a nap. What a beautiful morning!!!

Posted by Tootie at Sunday, May 04, 2008 2 comments

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