As the sun dips down into the ocean the first baby turtle digs her way out of her sandy nest. Reaching the surface she rests a bit to get her bearings, turning in the direction of the ocean, she starts on her long and dangerous trek to the ocean. We give her words of encouragement as if she understands, and we watch for predators to ward them off so that she arrives at her destination.
When my two girls were little I would read to them a storybook of a baby turtle’s journey to the ocean. As I read this story I thought of how, as we were living in the mountains, we would probably only read about this special event. Now, however, we are living 4,000 miles from home and watching our own little baby turtle make her way to the sea.
There are 4 species of turtles that call Ecuador their home. These turtles are said to be critically endangered. Their nesting sites are being destroyed and the oceans over-fished, depleting the food necessary for their survival. For this reason, Ecuador is making a huge effort to protect the nesting sites by marking them carefully. Volunteers ensure the safety of their journey to the ocean without direct contact, for this would be harmful to the development of the turtles.
It is a special gift to be able to watch baby turtles make their way to the ocean. It is one of the things that makes our move here worth the effort involved. I can’t wait for the next hatching season to begin for another chance to see this special event.
Written by Deborah