The last thing I expected was to be put to work on a turtle farm, but that’s exactly what happened.
One of the only attractions in Colola beach is the turtle camp, with the grand title of “Colola World Capital Of The Black Turtle”. The project, which is composed of townspeople and outside volunteers, is dedicated to the protection of the black turtle.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m no wildlife expert but did I ever get a schooling on my visit to the turtle camp that night.
Every night the turtles come ashore to make nests to lay eggs. The volunteers then comb the beach and dig up the eggs and relocate them to a hatchery in a fenced-in area further down the beach.
I thought I was going to be given a tour but they were shorthanded that evening so I was put to work, collecting and counting newly hatched turtles before releasing them in to the sea. If adult turtles are slow let me tell you these baby turtles are no slouches at all. You had to move fast to pick them up and sometimes chase down the escapees who had scurried away. I had to be very careful where I walked as it was very easy to tread on a stray hatchling.
I collected and released about 600 hatchlings over the course of a few hours. Once in the sea the hatchlings would make their way up the coast to Baja California. Its estimated that only one in a hundred would survive the trip. Once matured, they return to same beach the following year to lay eggs.
At about 11 PM some more helpers showed up so I was relieved of my turtle farming duties and went down the beach to see adult turtles emerging from their nests and going back in to the sea.
The turtle below slithered in to the dark night and then so did I (well, I didn’t slither. It was more like I stumbled across the dunes).