Location: Anegada

Today we had an eventful day. We woke up on Anegada and checked our jobs for the day. After cereal and bagels with yogurt, we packed our lunch and backpacks to go to land. We hopped in the dinghy and rode to the dock where we then waited for a taxi to take us to the Old Anegada Yacht Anchorage. When the taxi arrived, we loaded in the coolers with our lunch and our tools to help us tag the sea turtles. We had a long talkative, bonding ride to the dock with kids on Ewak (the other boat).

We arrived at the fishing dock where we would be catching our turtles. We all rushed off the back of the taxi and carried off the coolers. We made sure to stay out of the way of the local fishermen. We carried our belongings down the dock where we would be tagging the turtles we’d catch. We dropped our belongings off at the end of the dock and began to set up our neon orange tent that would provide shade for the turtles we would pull out of the water. After having a short talk about the way to catch the turtles “rodeo” style, we sent out the first group of people on a small platform fishing boat. Not long after they went out, they brought back a small sea turtle, and we all went into “research mode.” We carefully lifted the turtle out of the boat and put it on a chiclet, a flotation device that goes on our dinghy. We set it on the table and began measuring the plastron (the stomach side of the turtle) and the dorsal side (the back of the turtle). We wrote down the measurements on the data sheet and included the times of when we went out to catch the turtle and when we brought it into our boat. Before tagging it, we made sure we scanned it with a tag reader so we wouldn’t tag it twice. If there was no tag we would then proceed to tag the turtle in two ways, one way is to staple metal clips with a tracking number into their left and right front fins (if they’re big enough), and the second way is to insert a needle that carries the reader can scan a tracker inside that. We then take the tracking number and write it down on our data sheet, so if it is caught again, we have records on it. After a few groups went out, it was my turn to jump into the boat. Me being quite afraid of anything living in the water made this experience quite terrifying. As I was adventuring into the deeper water, we spotted a small turtle, and we began to follow it in our boat till we could get close enough to jump out and grab it with our hands. After a few people jumped and missed the turtle, it was my turn. I stood on the front on the boat, ready to belly flop on the turtle swimming next to the boat. I launched at the sea turtle and missed, but I still got closer to one then I had ever before! After a few more jumps another girl on my boat was able to swim after the tired turtle and hand it into the boat where we drove it back to the dock so that we could begin the tagging process. We caught around nine turtles and found some that were already tagged. We were able to do it quite fast so we got to go back to the boat early and had shore time where we got our phones and could spend some money.

Around 4 o’clock, we arrived back at our boat and took ocean showers, and the chefs started preparing our chicken caesar salad. While we were waiting, Julie did my eyebrows and helped me brush my hair. We ate and did our squeeze (where we all hold hands around the dinner table and the skipper of the day – me – asks a question and we go around the table and answer the question and our favorite part of the day then squeeze the next person’s hand to let them answer). The question I asked was: who is your biggest role model, and why? My answer was my parents because of how successful they are and the life they gave me that I hope to one day give my kids and give them the chance to have the same opportunities I have been given. After our squeeze, we cleaned up dinner and finished our beach clean-up competition. Before going to sleep, we determined that Plum made the other cabins bathroom smell like Jaxie’s ferret’s cage. Then we sent up our sleeping sheets on the trampoline outside and went to bed.