May 30, 2020
On this Saturday morning, I woke up to a text saying that securities at Blue bay have sighted some turtle activities on the beach.
Upon arrival, 15 volunteers gather to spend a morning together by learning more about sea turtles. This is our last training of three and today is the fieldwork training. We are greeted by Ard, Julietta, Sabine & Sussane and divided into 3 groups of approx. 5 volunteers. We are given forms, vests, and measuring tape to conquer the beach.
The first scenario was a suspected turtle nest, this is where we became investigators to find, inspect, and conclude if it was a successful nest and what type of turtle nest it is. Arriving we see symmetrical tracks going in and out, a big pile of fluffy sand and dug up the hole. We seal off the area around the nest with some lounge chairs in the vicinity and dived the tasks to each volunteer; a photographer, Public Relations personnel, a data collector, and the form filler. After some thorough observation and registering all the information, it had been concluded that this was a successful green turtle nest and we would have to keep an eye out in the coming two months for some baby turtles.
Moving on to the second scenario; excavating a newly hatched nest. We followed the coordinates and arrived at the nest to find a lot of baby tracks. We carefully started digging up the nest and not too long after, we found some eggs shells, undeveloped eggs, and a few weak hatchlings needing a little help to get to the ocean. We dug the entire nest, investigating and documenting everything on the form. After collecting the data, all the everything was buried again in the sand giving the soil back its nutrients and keeping the balance in nature.
The third scenario was of an open nest that needed to be relocated to give the baby turtles a surviving chance. This is only done when we are absolutely certain that the whole nest will die due to it being too close to the water or in danger of predators.
Arriving at the nest, we could see eggs popping out and water coming close to this nest. Furthermore, we also saw several body pits meaning that this turtle had struggled to find a perfect place to nest. This happens when there is too many garbage such as plastic bottles and bags in the sand or too many rocks.
We take a bucket place it close to the nest and carefully start digging the nest and placing the eggs gently and without turning them in the bucket. All while the other volunteers count the eggs, fill the form and find a better spot to make a new nest for these eggs to give them a fighting chance. When the new nest is ready, the eggs are placed gently and again without turning again one on top of another and then covered with sand. Three sticks and place around the nest and the coordinates are taken so we can find the nest again in two months.
Today was a day full of exciting activities surrounding our water friends, the turtles who were once born here on Curaçao and after many years and miles, have decided to come and lay their eggs and give their babies a place to call home.