Life Nature

…Green Sea Turtles…

August 7, 2015

Through the Window

Green sea turtles are laid in a big clutch of 100-200 eggs, incubate for about 2 months, hatch, then off they go into the deep blue sea.  They can fit in the palm of your hand.  They make the long trek from the nest to the water, which, if you can believe, is the most dangerous journey they face as they can be picked off by predators easily at this time.  If there are man-made lights near by, they can get disoriented and go the wrong way, never reaching the ocean.  When they do finally reach the ocean, these little tiny turtles ride the currents, are omnivorous through their juvenile years to grow into a 350 pound adult in 15-25 years.  In fact, not much is known about the habits of these turtles for the first 15 years of their life.  Eventually then end up picking a good feeding site where once adult they are herbivores. They can live and reproduce well into what we humans would call the “golden years”.   Once they are of age to reproduce they make migrations of sometimes 1000s of miles to the exact same beach where they hatched…amazing right!

They just spent 15-25 years away from “home” and somehow they know how to get back to the exact same beach where they hatched.  They use a turtle internal GPS believe it or not.  They can sense the earth’s magnetic field and it seems to know exactly how to get back to where they came from.  I have always been amazed by sea turtles and some seabirds who can make these lengthy migrations back to the exact spot where they were born.  They have, since birth, the ability in their brain to know exactly where they are at all times.

Five years ago to the month I was fortunate enough to aid in the hatching of some green sea turtles, it was the start of a journey for me that I thought was leading me to a new career, perhaps a Master’s degree in Marine Biology…the sky was the limit.  A month later I was asked to do some biological survey work and so began (finally at the age of 41) my lifelong dream of actually doing work that I went to school for!  So, off I went that fall five years ago, doing actual research, not for green sea turtles, but research just the same.  I felt like I was right where I was supposed to be, my “GPS” was guiding me home.  Little did I know there would be yet another detour, a fantastic one, but a detour just the same.  Along comes my now almost four year old daughter…what a side trip that has been!  I guess I am just always late to the party and it took until entering my 40s for me to actually show up…

August 2010 me and my baby turtle

August 2010 me and my baby turtle

This past week I have embarked once again on my dream, but I must admit it has been bumpy to say the least.  My ego has taken a beating as because my experience in the world of biology is limited, I feel I am being judged, attacked, and degraded.  I once again have been asked to do this same study I did five years ago but have no more experience under my belt.  Other biologists are questioning me and I feel disoriented, bewildered, and confused, doubting what it is I am supposed to do; the light of man-made s–t is interfering.  I am losing sense of my innate “GPS”.   Why are we humans supposed to be the most advanced animal, with forethought and planning in our repertoire, yet we still seem to get lost… a lot; mostly due to allowing outside influence skew our direction.

So today, as I look out my dining/kitchen window, I do not see the vibrant green, the pillars of my neighbors house, the sky, or even the out of focus ocean; I see my little green sea turtle swimming below the surface in this huge sea knowing exactly where she is and what she is going to do.  I see her escape the interference of ocean polluting humans.  I see her escaping the predator with skill and finding food with ease.  I see her, five years old now, riding the currents, enjoying the ups and downs it brings.  I see her seeking refuge from a storm and floating on the surface to feel the sun when it emerges.  I feel her finding her way.   I will cheer for this baby as much as for my human one, for it seems that we all face a lot of the same obstacles now days…

Perhaps, just perhaps, by the time she comes back in 20+ years, to this same beach where I held her, my GPS will have led me home as well and we will meet again…better late than never.


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