First Few Days

I arrived in Grenada around 2:00 pm on Saturday, went through Customs relatively quickly (there was only my plane of people), and then had to get my bags and find my taxi driver that was going to take us to the worksite. Where I am in Grenada is on the complete opposite end of where the airport is. So I had to take a very scary almost two hour long ride across the island. In Grenada they drive on the opposite side of the ride and the roads are very very small. So there was a lot of ups and downs, slowing down and speeding up and honking when rounding corners to see if another car was coming. However it was super awesome to be able to see the whole island and see the different towns. undefined The next day I had orientation and training all day where I learned all the stuff I am going to be doing. The following day was my first night survey, but I did not have to be ready for that until about 7 pm. So we rode into the closest town where they do all our grocery shopping and explored a little. The town is called Sauteurs and there’s a school there and a bunch of shops and a really nice beach. undefined undefined And then I hung out at the house until the sun set and it was time to head to Levera Beach. The sun sets pretty early here in Grenada so by the time we got there it was already very dark. There were seven of us total, so we split into four and three. We went on the first run and started the trek up the beach. Within ten minutes we saw our first leatherback. She had just emerged from the sea and was deciding where she wanted to lay. So we kept our distance and moved on to keep checking the rest of the beach. A little ways away we had another leatherback. She had just finished laying and was burying her eggs with her back flippers. So we checked her tag numbers and her microchip number, took some measurements and headed back to see the other turtle. She had chosen her spot and had already finished with her body pit. Turtles make body pits with all four flippers and just try to settle themselves in the sand and dig out a little area for themselves. When digging the nest they only use their back flippers. So we checked her microchip and waited for her to stop digging to get the ID tags from her back flipper area. Once she started laying, I got to lay on my stomach and with a glove and clicker reach right into the nest and under her to catch her eggs as they came out. I would catch and click, catch and click. I did this over 100 times. However towards the end the turtles start to have tinier and tinier eggs, these are called yolkless. we had to keep track of the number of yolkless in our heads. Once she was done laying, and started burying her eggs we took measurements. One of the cool things about this project, is there are usually tourist groups who come out until about midnight to be able to see the eggs and the turtles. They watched us as we did everything and took pictures. They are led by locals who also work on the Ocean Spirits projects. It is pretty important that people see these kinds of things and know how important they are. And they we headed back up the beach and the other team waited 30 minutes to head out. While we wait, we get to sleep in this house that never quite became a house. So we lay on the floor and surprisingly after all that dredging through sand, you sleep. Then you wake up and walk the beach again. Once you get to the end you sit and you wait 30 minutes, and you head back. We went two more runs after our first but didn’t see another turtle. As the sun started to come up, we grab rakes and head back to the nesting spots. We rake out her tracks from the sea, her body pit, and the large area she “camouflages” by moving sand around. Then we measure the distance of the nest to the sea line, the vegetation line, and the two markers it is between. Then we head back, get in the car, and go home. undefined I have other jobs and responsibilities as well, but night surveys are the main one. The rest of my time will be spent tending to other small jobs, resting, and going to the beach. Which is a pretty great way to spend three weeks. The only downsides are I probably won’t stop sweating for three weeks straight, and I got over 30 mosquito bites in the span of an hour while night surveying. But it’ll be fine.

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