Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Another Turtle Season is upon us.

Patricia and Marcel, MCSS Volunteer Turtle Conservation Officers for South East Mahe.

We Volunteer Conservation Officers did our Turtle Training this past week. Now, that does not mean literally Training Turtles, but rather training the volunteers who will for another season walk the beaches in search of nesting turtles, stay with the turtle until she safely returns to the sea, and then make sure to get the gathered information onto the dreaded data sheets.

The season has had a slow start, but we have noted the emergence of turtles at both Anse Marie Louise and Petite Marie Louise. It is Petite Marie Louise that has caused us some concern. During the recent past, human activity such as the collection of coconuts has created a physical barrier of coconut husks and fronds to build up near the high water mark. This means that the turtles cannot dig their nests in the bushes and usually end up doing a U-turn back to sea. So while we were there on our routine patrol, we spent some time clearing and cleaning the beach crest of assorted rubbish, some left by the tides and some by the coconut pickers.

Anse Petite Marie Louise, photo Marcel Mathiot.

The weather could have been kinder, the wind was keen and the rain came in fits and starts. We hoped to see a turtle, but by 9am the only emergence was a small group of people from behind the beachside vegetation. They were a mixed group of locals and tourists who were also hoping to see a turtle. After a brief chat, they continued their trek to Anse Capuchin.

We stopped for a breakfast of Marmalade Sandwiches and fresh Coconut water straight from the tree. At this time, I noticed a solitary seeker of octopus pass by. Identified by the long metal rod he carried, which is used to hook the octopus out from the nooks and crannies in the rocks, and his fins and bag, which were slung over his shoulder, he gave me a cheery wave. The sea was quite choppy and I wondered if he would be able to go into the water at all, but he did. Marcel told me not to worry as he was an expert at catching octopus and would be all right. A short while later several other solitary seekers of octopus passed by, but no cheery waves this time, and one wonders if they were really what they seemed to be.

Soon, we had to leave and during this patrol there was no sign of any turtles. In spite of that, and the wind and rain, we enjoyed our time at Petite Marie Louise. Here’s hoping for better luck next time. Certainly Mesdames Turtle will have an easier time nesting from now on.

News from Pat and Marcel

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