Releasing a Turtle

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My family and I just ventured off to the sun for a short but therapeutic break from the rain and drizzle in our winter world. It was a great holiday for lots of reasons, some of which had to do with watching adult kids moving through the stages in their lives with their growing families.   Some of it had to do with watching the little people in my world play and have the experience of a completely different landscape.  And some of it had to do with us just lying in the heat, listening to the sound of the waves and doing absolutely nothing.

I think I can officially say the unpacking and resettling into life post holiday is finally complete. Sandals, sun screen and summer clothes are tucked away until our summer officially arrives. Even though it’s a few months before our weather warms enough to don sandals, I’ll be ready.

Now that I’ve had time to download all the pictures from my camera, I’m especially charmed by this serendipitous event that took place during our holiday .

It just so happened that a family of Ridley Turtles would be hatching at the very time we were on  the West coast of Mexico. Thanks to the efforts of a small group of volunteers in the town where we were staying, the release would take place at dusk on or around the full moon. Perfect timing.  How lucky were we.  And what a great opportunity for our crew of little people to be involved in the release.

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 I didn’t know they needed to be launched at dusk to optimize their chance of survival .

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And that it was handy to have a rough surface for their ‘arms and legs ‘ to help get a grip on their journey across the sand.

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 I didn’t know that sometimes they don’t all hatch at once and that  a little helping hand occasionally to the less hardy ones can be beneficial to the survival of their species.

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I didn’t know some of them never survived or made it out of their shell .

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And that most of them didn’t wait for each other in the race to the ocean.

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Participating in this release I was struck by how optimal the conditions needed to be to give these tiny turtles a fighting chance at life.  How fragile, small and helpless they looked as they charged toward the ocean driven by the GPS of an internal code on where to go, how to get there and what to do once they had arrived.  Swim down to the bottom apparently. Who knew ?

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How when it took a few tries to get themselves righted as the waves pushed them back, they just kept on with the charge. How they just kept pumping their little fins across the sand knowing that their life depended on going as fast as they could. It was hard not to want to help them along when they flipped onto their back by accident or seemed too tired to carry on. We all were tempted to just carry them into the water and speed up their progress. It was so disheartening to watch the little weak ones struggle, turn the wrong way or seem to give up.

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And finally just how futile their journey seemed in the grand scheme of the vastness of the universe. All the potential hazards and pitfalls waiting for them. It would now be up to each and every one of them to make their own way. We were rooting and cheering them on as if our life depended on it too.

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 Such an insurmountable experience to be the size of a walnut and hurling yourself unknowing into a huge dark ocean just before nightfall. I would hazard a guess that every one of the 8 adults in our family grouping and maybe even a few of the 6 little people were thinking about our little turtles. Knowing they were ‘out there somewhere’ when we went to bed that night.  Hoping and hoping they would make it, buck the odds and live to be 100.

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Now that the holiday is over , all the adult kids and little people have scattered back to the rhythm of their lives.  Jobs, school, social commitments. Life moves on. It’s up to each and every one of them to make their own way and I’m rooting for all of mine to thrive too. Right from the oldest down to the youngest.

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4 thoughts on “Releasing a Turtle

  1. What a lovely empowering post Sandy. I love the line “it was handy to have a rough surface to help them get a grip on their journey”. Don’t we all want life to be easy! … and yes after handling I would be left dreaming about where each one of those little creatures will swim to. I wonder if they ever cross the ocean. If I meet one this side, I’ll be sure to ask and say “Hi!”

  2. Love the thought of them ending up on your shore Suzi . I’m going to keep my fingers crossed that they will survive .

  3. Oh my….. Thank you so much for sending me here. It was quite a goose bumpy start to my day. Weren’t you fortunate, and the parallels you’ve written about are so true…xo

    • Thank you for taking the time to read and comment Sharron. What a lovely start to my day ! Funny how nature and life can run parallel stories for us if we’re paying attention. And those little people still talk about the turtles. What a lucky happenstance for us all.

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