Sunday, May 18, 2008

Turtle Walk #3

Our zone is Zone #1. We start our walk at the South end of Buttonwood Lane, walking around the tip of Sanibel Island to the North side, ending at the North end of Buttonwood Lane. The total distance around is nearly 2 miles, then walk back across by way of Buttonwood to the vehicle.

Turtle Walk #3
Morning came and I really didn't want to get up! But once you start moving around it isn't so bad, even got started a little earlier today. There wasn't anyone else on the streets this morning; just one lady walking her dog. I'm guessing she probably didn't want to get up either, but doody called.

Parked at the south end of Buttonwood Lane; then gathered things up to put in my pockets and it was time to begin the walk.

The sun hadn’t come up yet and at first glance up and down the beach, it looked as though there weren’t many people out yet.

Right away there was trash to pick up. It looked like someone had a picnic last night and left everything lying on the sand. There were cigarette butts all along the high tide line and also scattered in the sand where people had been sitting; we’re talking at least 50 or 60 and a couple cigar butts thrown in. I was really glad I had a rubber glove with me today since there was such a nasty assortment lying around. This trash pickup detail gives the ‘Sanibel Stoop’ a whole new meaning.  This end of the island gets a lot of people coming over just for the day, so the public beach areas can be pretty busy. We must need bigger and more explicit signage at the beach accesses about not littering and the ramifications of it.
There had to have been at least 10 plastic bags to pick up today, several small bags with, left over, snacks still in them. Don’t people understand that when those are floating out in the water they look like jelly fish to the turtles and could kill them?

When I looked up from the task at hand, a lady came jogging by. I have to wonder why, when she is so thin and looks like she could fall over any moment. Another thing that puzzles me is why do most of the runners, joggers, speed walkers, etc. look so miserable and have a pained expression on their faces? Isn’t it supposed to make you happy, healthy and keep you feeling young instead of looking like a heart attack in the making? I’ve begun to wonder if the early morning ‘Turtle Walkers’ should have a refresher course in CPR just in case.

Just ahead were the remnants of sandcastle construction and there was also sand shaped to look like a fish, but the high tide had washed some of it away. I’m guessing that some children are going to be disappointed if they come back again today.

There were two lounge chairs sitting out on the beach that had been left out there for at least two days because the walkers had marked them with a sticker previously. When we call it this morning, someone will have to come take them away. Furniture etc, left on the beach at night can keep turtles from nesting.

While I was bent over picking up more cigarette butts, I saw 8 or 10 sand dollars lying in the sand, in a neat little pile. They were still dark green in color, so had been taken alive and left high and dry on the beach.  They were all kind of small, so my guess is that someone took other live ones and these weren’t big enough, so left them behind to die. What kind of people would do that?

The sun was beginning to come up just before I reached the Light House, but there was a little cloud cover near the horizon, so it took a while before it came peeking out.

The water was calm this morning and looked really smooth. A few people were enjoying that, as they waded around in the water searching for shells. I picked up a very small apple murex and a tiny whelk on the beach near the light house.

More people were coming onto the beach now, from the public parking area. Some were walking on the beach and others looking toward the light house and taking pictures.

Once again I had to take the path around some sea grapes etc that were growing next to the water’s edge because the tide was in, being careful not to drop anything today. 

Back on the beach again, I saw starfish in the water in several places. As I looked up at the fishing pier, I noticed there were several fishermen there this morning. Of course, along with the fishermen come the pelicans. I love watching them crashing into the water or waiting near the pier for charity from the fishermen. Thank goodness there is a big trash container next to the walkway to the pier. I dumped 2 full bags of trash just as a city employee pulled in the empty it. That was perfect timing.

A little further on, just before my favorite tree, was (I think) a small night heron. It was back in color and quite eye catching. I don’t know the names of all the Sanibel birds yet. (Note to self to read more on that.)

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