Bruce and I brought Pacific Hwy to Paradise Village Marina, mainly because this is the only marina in the area that has potable water and we wanted to fill our water tanks before Maren and Connor arrive. We will keep the boat at the La Cruz Marina while the kids are here, but their water is not drinkable.
At the end of the day we took a walk down the beach at sunset. This is a long stretch of beach with one high-rise condo/resort after another for several miles but, walking along the wet sand at low tide and facing the sunset over the water, you can forget about the concrete jungle behind you.
One condo had donated part of it's beachfront to a turtle conservation group. This is a non-profit group run by volunteers with about 8 turtle experts who are paid by the government. These 'turtle men' patrol the beach on quads (ATVs) and watch for turtles coming ashore to lay eggs. After the momma turtle has returned to the water, the turtle man digs up the eggs and relocates the nest to the conservation site where he digs a nest of the same shape and dimensions and marks it with the date and type of turtle. All the nests are within a fenced area and covered with netting so the eggs are protected from predators. When the turtles hatch, they are collected and taken down to the waters edge at sunset and released. For a $2 donation, you can participate in the turtle release after listening to a presentation by the staff. We were told to first wash our hands with wet sand so that the baby turtle would imprint the smell of the beach and not our human scent, then we were each given a turtle and, on the count of three, we released a total of 50 turtles. This program was started in 2002 and 500 nests were relocated. This past year 9,127 nests were relocated so they feel that the program is working! These are Olive Ridley Turtles and Bruce's turtle was the smallest of the bunch! Here' a photo of three babies making their way into the surf.
We are used to seeing turtles in the Caribbean but had not seen any on the west coast until last month when we sailed south to Tenacatita. Everyday we would spot turtles, whales, and dolphin. On the overnight sail back to La Cruz, Bruce spotted what he thought was a turtle in distress. In the binoculars it appeared that a turtle was tangled in a fisherman's float and was flailing on the surface of the water. Bruce turned the boat around, ready to do his good deed for the day and free the turtle. When we got there, however, we realized that the turtle was not tangled in a float, but tango-ing with another turtle! The next morning, we sailed by another couple of turtles, inflagrante. They were oblivious to us - we sailed within a few feet and they made no move to dive under water or otherwise avoid a potential threat. Ah, turtle love!