Today was, in my opinion, the best day of this trip so far and one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had. My day started when I woke up from my best nights sleep so far. By this, I mean I didn’t get rained on, I wasn’t woken up by any un-latched doors tapping against the walls, and the temperature in the salon wasn’t the usual sweaty and sticky hot mess it usually is, but instead, I was cool and comfortable. After eating a hearty meal of cereal, we stuffed our bags with our cameras, our hats, and our sunscreen, as well as all the ingredients needed for our PB&J lunch. We took the dinghy to the dock and stuffed ourselves onto the back of a local taxi that was completely open-air where we were sitting. This is definitely the coolest cab ride I’ve ever taken (very different from the gross hot NYC taxis I’m used to getting sick in). We got out of the cab right where the road actually ended and followed a skinny path surrounded by overgrown mangroves. We found ourselves on a slightly bigger dock. This area, we learned, used to be the main place for people to dock their small fishing boats, but that was a good time ago, and now most of the boats that were left behind are half-sunk, murky boats that habitats lots of plant growth. Not everyone from both boats were on the dock yet, considering not everyone could fit into one taxi, but Richard was ready to take the first group of us out to catch some turtles. Richard is a quiet but funny man with the keenest eyes for turtle tagging I believe any person could possibly have. I was one of the first three people to get on the boat, along with Haley and Juliana. We were excited and nervous as we left the dock and we generally knew what we were supposed to do if and when we saw a turtle, but as soon as we actually did see one (which was within the first 5 minutes due to Richards amazingly sharp eyesight when it came to catching turtles) we were immediately nervous about what we’d be stepping on and whether or not we would be crushing the turtle in the process of trying to catch them. We decided Haley would jump in first, and after she didn’t catch it, Juliana jumped in. Juliana almost caught it, but it slipped out of her fingers. Then it was my turn, and once again, I came very close to catching the turtle, but it was too fast and swam beneath the boat. Haley again missed, but the next time Juliana went in, she knew what she had to do. She used the extremely advanced technique of belly-flopping into the water, and seeing her come up with a Hawksbill sea turtle sparked a feeling of fulfillment and excitement inside of all of us. We returned to the dock, and everyone met our excitement at the sight of the first turtle. We decided we’d name our turtle Franklin (thus the title of this post) after the turtle in the TV show/books. The next bunch of hours was spent taking all the required measurements that we needed to record about the lengths and widths of the turtles as well as tagging them. Eight boats went out over the course of the day, and eight turtles were caught – one from each boat. Everyone knew how serious this process was, and everyone managed to stay mature and focused and admire the beauty of the turtles. My group was the only group to catch a Hawksbill; every other group caught a Green sea turtle. The sizes ranged from huge to tiny, and they were all unbelievably gorgeous creatures. After a long day of turtle tagging, we got an hour of shore time (for the second day in a row!), and we got to shop around for the snacks and souvenirs. We all sat down in front of a projector to watch a movie about the life cycle of a sea turtle. After that, we dinghied back to the boat, made dinner, and laughed our way through eating like we do every other night. I couldn’t have asked for a more fun, hilarious (especially Jeff) group of people to spend three weeks with. Anyway, today was fantastic, and I’m so happy I was skipper today, so I got to write about it (sorry it was so long).
Goodbye from the BVIs, Camrin
P.s. Mom, I’ve been putting on lots of sunscreen every day, and I miss you so much it’s crazy. Dad, I also miss you tons, and I’m being superphysical and sweating a lot (tell Jenn and Bobby). And tell Angel I miss and love him.