Day 10 – Turtle Tagging, Togetherness and Traveling
Posted: Thu, Jun 25, 2015
The fresh island breeze of an early morning wind entered my nostrils, and my lulled body swung delicately in my crimson faded-white hammock. As the incandescent new day’s sun was gently rising into the lavender sky, I was awoken by a blonde curly-haired child. I watched as his lips moved, but because of a severe case of Morning-Brain, my still slumbering ears were not apt nor keen enough to comprehend his babbling. After I fully awoke, I heard my shipmate Kade say to me, “Roman you have to wake up first, because you are the skipper of the day, so that means you are the most important person.” I then leapt out of my hammock, and freshened myself for the coming day. After the residents of our ship, Rangitoto Too, had completed eating breakfast, we collected the supplies needed to be prepared for the day’s journey, and all took a dinghy ride to the shore. We then met with the members of our sister-ship, Kes Kat, and all tread through the sandy road to be met with our taxi. This was not the average taxi, like a yellow car with black and white checkered stripes crossing it, and a sign above it that reads taxi. This was a modified truck that looked like a safari jeep, with a roof above the rowed seats, and open sides. The taxi had five rows of bench seats, that are meant to fit around four or five people per row. We fit around seven people in each row, either all squeezed next to each other, or stacking people on top of each other. The taxi drove us to our destination, and I wobbled as my almost crushed knees regained free space. We brought all our supplies down a cracked and crumbling concrete pathway, and draping mangrove bushes surrounded us, as our sunscreen lathered skin baked in the ever radiating sun. We created a campsite along the pathway that cut into the mangrove infested waters, and were introduced to our boat driver, Richard. The area around us was inhabited with hundreds of small fish, and mangrove seeds littered the sandy bottom of the clear turquoise water. Old weathered boats, either slightly sunken or strung to the the pathway, remain still usable to the resourceful residents of Anegada island. Richard began to gather groups of five on his boat, and venture through the lusciously overgrown mangrove forest. Each group would bring back an upside-down dripping turtle, which would be played on a cushion to protect its shell. The turtles would be brought onto the turtle examination table, and would have multiple measuring devices be wrapped around its flippers, tail and shell. This delicate process would be accurately repeated, and the measurements would be taken multiple times, and then averaged, to ensure accuracy. The most pivotal point in the tagging process is the actual tagging of the turtles. Each turtle is tagged with two metal number plates, which are applied on the turtles flippers by a staple-like device. Lastly,the turtle is injected with a small chip, delivered through a sharp needle that pierces the turtles hardy skin. The chip is numbered with a unique string of characters, so that researchers can differentiate different turtles. Once my turn arrived, me and three other shipmates, along with our professional photographer Devin, climbed into Richard’s boat and headed out into the open waters. The initial sight of the water was the usual violet-blue glass-clear extraordinary beauteous color that the BVIs are normally. Once we drove past the knee-deep rocky beach, the water was a brilliant white diamond color, that revealed the entire ocean floor, and everything that surrounded it. After searching for a short while, we spotted a turtle slowly gliding through the dirty mangrove sediment. The turtle quickly reacted to the sound of the boats motor, and we began to take chase. Turtles are usually seen as slow and steady animals, but in the water, the sea turtle is even faster than the hare. Richard’s boat’s motor screeched as the alacritous turtle hastily dived through the mangrove branches, and dodged our chase. Eventually, the turtle became weary of swimming so far, and came to a halt. Kade then leapt from the boat and landed behind the turtle with arms outstretched. Kade raised his arms, while clasping onto the sides of the turtles slippery shell, and on his first try, managed to bring the turtle onto the boat. Back on land, we brought the turtle to be tagged, and chilled by the water until all of the turtles were released back into their natural habitats. By the time the sun was close to setting, all of Lifeworks tightly squeezed back into the taxi. On the way back to the sandy beaches of Anegada, everyone sung a mixture of lyrics by Bohemian Rhapsody and other songs, while peering out the sides of the truck, watching as the human-void land past by. The orange sky melted downwards, making room for the purple rising of the soon to come crescent moon, and as it did, everyone was ready to return to our temporary floating home on the ocean.