Today was the epitome of the phrase, “patience is a virtue.” We began the day waking up early to rustling and rushing. The boat had to be on shore by 8:00 because we were getting in the taxi to catch turtles. On the boat, we not only managed to pack personal daily provisions, but we somehow managed to put together a cooler of great snacks and lunch. After surprisingly making it onto the dingy (shadow), we were able to make it on the shore of the lovely island of Anegada. Here, we took a taxi to the Old Fisherman’s Wharf. Arriving here would mark the premiere of our turtle tagging career. After setting up camp and getting comfortable, we got our necessary research resources ready. Shortly after we began, we were met by our turtle tagging guide: Richard. Going through students three at a time, along with a staff member, Richard would drive us around in his skiff. Through the shallow waters, we went looking through sand, seagrass, and rocks for our specimen: the Green Turtle and the Hawks-Bill Turtle. Once one would spot a turtle, they could point and watch as we would carefully view. When the turtle slowed down from exhaustion, we would be able to carefully jump in and grab it. From here, we would manage to take the turtle to shore and asses its features. Finally, we would hold the turtle down and carefully tag it with arm tags, and pit tags (pit tags are injected into the turtles’ left shoulder). After we had six turtles in total, we would release at the end. While waiting for people to catch the turtles, people would read play games and talk for hours on end. During one point of our vast waiting, some of us were offered the chance to walk into the mangroves and collect mangrove seeds (propagules) that we are eventually going to plant on Tortola. Tortola usually has abundant mangrove trees but, due to Hurricane Irma, most of them were crushed by this tempest. Our job will be to ameliorate their current mangrove conditions to what they were before the Hurricane. Finally, after a long, tedious day in the sun, we dispersed back onto our boat just as the turtles dispersed in the water. For dinner tonight, we had an exuberant meal of chicken caesar salad that included take-out fries, for being on our best behavior. Hopefully, we will have many days to look forward to on this trip, that will be as good as this one!
Carpe Diem, Wil!