Sunday, August 10, 2008

Cancun - Day #6

We're home!

We landed at 1:00 am last night and I finally rolled into bed around 3:00 am.

I need to update you on our last few days. I got a strong case of Montezuma's Revenge the last few days of our vacation ... so blogging was the last thing on my mind.

Day #6: The day after going to Tulum was really rough for me. I was unbelievably tired all day. Like walking from the ocean to the pool was way out of the question. All I did was lay in the shade and read. I had to force myself to eat. I totally felt blah and out-of-sorts. It was really weird. 

I meandered through the day and relished in my laziness while indulging myself in hours of reading under the umbrella at the beach. Wonderful.

After dinner, I fell asleep right away. Jay woke me up around 10:45 pm to tell me that a bunch of Sea Turtles were coming out of the water and making their way up the beach. We quickly went down to the beach to find a bunch of other guests, one biologist, and one volunteer watching the natural marvel of what was taking place.

Each year between May and September, sea turtles make their way up the beach to lay their eggs (they return to the same place each year - amazing). Here's what I learned:
  • Sea Turtles are pregnant for 2 weeks
  • It takes them about an hour to lay their eggs (an average of 100 eggs)
  • While Mama is laying her eggs, she is in a trance-like state and has no awareness of what is going on around her
  • The entire process (finding their spot, digging a hole, laying their eggs, resting burying their eggs, returning to the ocean) takes about 3-4 hours
  • Once they lay their eggs, the mama sea turtle never returns to check on them
  • Each hotel employees their own biologists. If not, the government does (they are an endangered species)
  • When the eggs are laid, they are quite soft. They calcify within 12-24 hours which is the window of time that the biologists need to re-bury them. 
  • The sex of the turtle depends on the temperature of the sand it's buried in. Lower nest temperatures produce more males; higher temperatures produce more females.
So here is what we did
  • We watched a Sea Turtle find her spot and dig her hole. I was tired just watching her.
  • Once she started laying her eggs, the biologist collected her eggs as they came out. I actually got to witness this. It was truly amazing. Brought tears to my eyes and goose-bumps to my arms. Since the turtle is in a trance, the biologist let us come up to watch, in small groups of four.
  • The biologist collected the eggs in a bag and then re-bury them in a fenced-off area where they won't be disturbed by people on the beach.
I felt so honored to be a part of this beautiful experience.

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