It was my first night patrol with Borja yesterday. Although he, already being the clown in our group, is usually funny most of the time, I thought nothing should turn funny when we work. I was very wrong about that! It was pitch dark when we started as the moon was hidden behind the dark clouds. We had difficulties looking more than 5m ahead of us. He said that he could barely see the tracks and I thought we might just walk over a turtle. As we walked slowly while still trying to adjust to the darkness, we stopped abruptly thinking that we saw a turtle. Then we saw a spotter walking towards us and just as I wondered why he did not stop when there was a turtle, I realised it was actually a bicycle lying on the sand instead of a turtle. Nothing wrong with that until I realised that Borja had not noticed that and I could not help but started laughing! The spotter actually thought that we stopped because we were afraid of him! This same spotter had somehow managed to scare Borja again later!! Borja was saying that he should probably start wearing glasses!!
Through the spotter, we knew there were about 200 tourists on the beach yesterday night. The first turtle we worked with was surrounded by a few groups of tourists, including the family that stayed at STC. That turtle had tags on so we recorded the tags and measurements. When we were about to leave, their guide told me that there were hatchlings coming out of the nest. I went back to check, just to realise that this mother turtle was digging out another nest which caused the hatchlings to fly all over her! FLYING TORTUGUITAS! Borja claimed that he saw me watching a hatchling flew over in front of me which I certainly did not remember. I was busy picking up hatchlings near the rear flippers and to determine the place they emerge from. It took me some time to realise that the hatchlings were dug out by the right front flipper and there were about 50 of them! The whole situation was a chaos as tourists became excited and started screaming at each others. Borja went bizzare too when the tourists were blocking the pathway. It was the first time I heard him screaming! We left after checking that all the hatchlings went into the sea. I was told that a big fat old lady stepped on one and a man stabbed one with his walking stick. He was so upset about it that he left the beach. We began to calm down after we left as the whole thing was just overwhelming!
We also saw a turtle doing aerobic on the beach. She was probably trying to leave the bodypit but it was too deep down that she had trouble climbing up. From the back, it looked like she was doing push-ups and we were giggling so hard. She turned away when Borja wanted to check if she had tags on. We decided to let her leave in peace. While we walked towards our last turtle, we saw one down the beach and Borja decided to check the tags as we could see it shining under the moonlight. He checked on the right one and said no tiene and tiene for the left flipper. He covered her eyes while I tried to read the numbers on the tag – 122772. I repeated twice so that we could remember it. As I was repeating the second time, the number sounded very familiar. Then I recalled that I just wrote that number down, it was the tag that he just tagged on the last turtle. Before I could tell him, I saw him writing the number down on the book. It was so funny when he realised it was the same turtle he just worked with earlier.
We worked with five turtles that night! He said he was amazed by the number of turtles we managed to work with. Even during a normal night (but I guess there was hardly any normal nights), we sometimes only worked with less than five turtles so to be able to work with five is good. I was really tired and sleepy after all the excitement and laughter!!!