Beach Vacation and the Sea Turtle March

I’m on the last day of a week long family vacation on the gulf coast that includes my parents, sister, two of my cousins and one of my aunts. It’s been such a great week! The house we rented is right on the beach and it’s far from the condos and souvenir shops and all that, and the owners had stocked it with games and puzzles and movies as well as boogie boards, castle building stuff, and lounge chairs for the beach. We did a puzzle one night and some of us played Settlers of Catan another night. I got to celebrate my birthday with my family, even though my birthday had been a week earlier. Every morning my mother and I went walking at 6 in the morning and got to see the sunrise. Most morning my aunt joined us (actually she’s usually the one that instigates it, but she didn’t walk 2 of the days) and one of my cousins joined us one morning. It was great since I usually get up at 5am this time, so I was only sleeping in an hour and not throwing off my sleep schedule too much. The beach itself has been wonderful and we usually go for a morning and an afternoon swim. Sadly, though, there hasn’t been much surf, so we didn’t get to boogie board, but the water has been very clear, so we can see any jellyfish before they sting us (we just saw a few sea nettles). One morning we went zip-lining and that was super fun as well as a great work out (lots of stairs). The water today is very calm and clear and we saw a LOT of comb jellies, which look similar to jellyfish, but don’t have any stingers. My cousins and I kept throwing them at each other and it was fun. We also saw a huge moon jelly (I don’t know the average size of these, but this was probably a foot or so in diameter) and a lot of needle fish and other fish swimming around the seaweed. We saw one small stingray and three of  some other type of ray that we have yet to identify. It was all pretty cool.

Probably the coolest part (aside from just being with family in general), was watching some sea turtle conservation volunteers rescue some baby sea turtles. Apparently, when sea turtles hatch, they all stack on top of each other and flap their fins to move up like an elevator as the ones on bottom push up, which means that often the ones on bottom get stuck. Since the sea turtle population is declining due to sea turtles eating plastic that looks like jellyfish (their main food), these volunteers want to get each baby to the water. So, even though 130 eggs were laid and only 10 babies didn’t make it, this group dug up the 10 babies and got them out to sea. They came a few days after the eggs hatched, so to not interfere with the majority of them getting to sea, and dug up the nest (they’ve had the nest blocked off and been monitoring it since they first saw the mama turtle’s tracks in the sand). They carefully pulled out the babies and put them in a bucket and carefully pulled out all the egg shells, and a few whole eggs that didn’t get fertilized, and laid them out in a grid for counting and then I think they took the whole eggs. The babies were placed in a trench that some of the volunteers had dug so they could crawl to the ocean themselves. It was probably the coolest thing I have ever seen on one of our beach vacations (which are annual).

What is one of the coolest things you’ve seen or experienced while on a vacation? I’d love to read any vacation stories you want to share! Any opinions on sea turtle conservation?

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