Fly! Be Free!
01 December 2007 | Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico
While listening to the morning cruisers' net we heard that they would be "releasing the turtles" at 5:00 in front of the Aqua Marina Hotel. We didn't know what that was all about but thought to ourselves, "We're in!"
We grabbed a bus around 4:30 and couldn't quite get to the hotel due to detours set up for a race happening the next day. The bus driver let us off a couple of blocks from the beach. Several locals encouraged us to get off there, also. So we got out of the bus and followed lots of people who were all walking toward the beach. Once there, we saw hundreds of people- mostly locals- spread out along a rope that was stretched across a large stretch of the beach.
We joined the masses and it wasn't long before some official-looking guy went through the crowd handing out baby turtles. Maddie and Sophie each got two- I could tell they weren't really sure how to feel about having these squirming little fellas in their hands- but they held on. We waited a bit- seemed like a long time- for the moment when we could put our turtles down and watch them struggle toward the surf. The turtles seemed impatient, too. As you held them they furiously waved their little flippers- you could tell they were absolutely driven to get to that water.
The moment finally came and everyone put their turtles down gently on the sand. We watched as they raced (being generous here, these are turtles after all) toward the water. Some charged full steam ahead without a break and were gone as soon as they reached the waves. Others got a little tuckered out: they'd scramble along a bit, rest for a while and the scramble some more. Others still seemed to give up pretty much out of the gate. Fortunately the "Turtle Herders" or whatever you call the organizers of this event would scoop up the laggards and move them a bit closer to the water. As soon as the water touched them they would seem to wake up and were instantly motivated to charge the water. Once the turtles were in the water they could really move. They'd wave those flippers and disappear.
Maddie told me later that she thought the turtles would be big and they would use a crane to get them into the water- after all no one ever said "baby" turtle. Well, that would have been fun, too.