Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tortuga! Tortuga!

By day, the beach in Cancun is stunning. The stark-white sand is like powdered sugar and the water blends into 7 shades of blue. We spent days laying in our cabanna staring at the beauty that is Cancun beach.

One night we decided to take a walk up the beach. The moon was out and the tide was in. We were happily walking in the waves getting our feet wet and looking out to sea.

A security guard from a resort other than ours approached us. He pointed at the ocean and said, "tortuga." We're thinking, ya, there's an island somewhere in the Caribbean that's called Tortuga. I asked Husband if we had been there. "Tortola, I think it was called," he said. The guard starts frantically pointing to the ocean and repeating himself, "torgua, tortuga." I ask him if he speaks English. No. We speak no Spanish. We had no idea what he was trying to tell us. So I repeated him and said, "tortuga," nodded my head yes and pointed at the ocean. That seemed to relax him a bit. That kind of clueless agreement may get me in trouble one day -- but not on this night.

At a complete loss of understanding we walked on. The guard walked with us to the resort's border. After a dozen or so more yards, we realized what he was talking about. The guard was protecting the tortugas that were nesting at his resort. The sea turtles were coming to shore to lay their eggs.

We forgot about playing in the ocean waves and started earnestly looking for turtles. In the dark, they look like large rocks on the beach. And they can move very quickly back to the water if they want to.

When they dig, spumes of sand fly into the air. It's quite a site. We wanted to see more, but kept our distance instead. We didn't want to scare her.

It was quite fascinating watching the turtles come and go. I don't know how many of these eggs actually survive, I would guess given the location, very few. She was building her nest near a lounge chair. On the bright side, Mexico does have a refuge where the eggs are protected.

We saw 6 sea turtles that night. I have no idea what species they were nor could I identify them by photo. Still, it was a great night watching nature at work. It was a totally unexpected surprise. I had no idea turtles come to Cancun to nest.

1 comment:

Dade said...

Wow! No wonder the waiter at the Mexican restaurant looked at me funny when I said, "I'd like 3 tacos de pollo with flour tortugas."