This morning, at 3:50am, I woke up to "TORTUGA!" By 4:03am Sofi and I were on the boat searching for the reported location. When we arrived the female was still laying her eggs. After she was done, all 100 pounds of her was moved closer to the water so her data could be recorded.
She is 89.15 cm long, and 72.3 cm wide.
I dug up the eggs and counted, 23 handfuls of 7 equals 161.
When we got back to the San Juan vivero, another clutch had hatched.
ICAPO employees had already collected the data before our arrival so we obtained the perk of liberating the babies.
When these females are mature, they will return to this very beach every 2-3 years to lay their eggs. That is as long as they don't have a different fate, some threats include, exploitation of their shell, coastal development and habitat loss, oil spills, eating marine pollution, getting caught in commercial fishing nets, and, of course, natural predators.
Good luck, little turtles, you are going to need it!
Volunteering with ICAPO is more like a really long turtle tour.
It is so amazing. The minimum volunteer stint is 1 week, but it takes this long in order to see a little of everything.
Early morning on the boat in Jiquilisco Bay is my favorite time.
A turtle playing the banjo? What?! Thanks, Kevin! Kevin, Melissa's boyfriend, is a graphic designer and whipped up this souvenir for me. Since the ICAPO location in El Salvador is not as popular as their location in Nicaragua they do not sell ICAPO paraphernalia, and Kevin wanted to give me something to take home (not that I could forget my experience here).
Later in the afternoon we had some errands to run in Usulután so Neftalí took us to Puerto Parada, and then drove us into town (he lives in Puerto Parada so has a truck as well).
Puerto Parada looks like a sleepy little town but it was everything but during the civil war. I heard stories from those who experienced it, humans being eaten by dogs in the street, women's corpses on posts, it was horrendous. And you would never guess
It was time for Sofi, Kevin. and Melissa to go back to their homes in San Salvador (which they were not nervous at all about). Sofi and Melissa are studying to be veterinarians, ICAPO is just an awesome side job. Living in the bay is not an option anyway, because ICAPO is only active April through November, when turtles are laying their eggs, and then the babies are hatching.
We had some shopping to do in town, so I got to try out some new food and drinks. I also saw tortuga eggs for sale in the market. I wanted to take a picture but Neftalí would not let me. He thought it was too dangerous and not worth it. I tried to object but in the end he freaked me out and I decided it wasn't worth it either.
This is exactly why renting a car in a foreign country is never tempting to me.
If I were driving I would not think this was a street.