Each night, some of us will have beach duty (to find any turtles that have come ashore to lay eggs and then to take data on both the turtle and the egg-laying) and some of us will have hatchery duty (to protect them from water or predators, some of the nests are moved to the hatchery, and those of us on hatchery duty get to watch the eggs -- you guessed it! -- hatch). Both beach and hatchery duties last six hours and are scheduled around high tide, so, for tonight, they take place from 9:10 p.m. until 3:10 a.m.; morning beach patrol runs 5-7 a.m. I'll know more about all three once I've been assigned to each -- I think tonight I get to go on part of the beach duty, and then I have beach patrol tomorrow morning.
A few pieces of information I've picked up, some of which I'm betting some of you already know:
- leatherback turtles have been around since the dinosaurs
- a female leatherback will lay eggs every 3-4 years
- she will lay approximately 65 eggs each time she comes on shore
- she will come on shore anywhere from 7-10 times each laying season, and she will do so every 9-10 days
- the laying season here runs from October to March
- she will then return to the Galapagos and environs until it's time for her to lay agai
Time to go have our headlights covered with red cellophane (no white lights near the turtles -- and, therefore, no pictures of them) and then head down to the hatrchery.
Jack Hogan: I found Taco Star! Thanks for the tip!