Catching our breath has been hard this past 10 days! We said farewell to the Duke University Marine Lab Sea Turtle Class on Sunday, after 10 fun-filled and exhausting days doing turtle patrols, beach cleanups, night surveys, strenuous hikes, lectures, and discussions! The eight students added a lot to our team, bringing stories, good humor and enthusiasm for the turtles and the research on the Leatherback Project. Their blogs of each day’s adventures can be found on their Sea Turtle Ecology page. They also helped us through our busiest ten day stretch in a long time.
During this time, we’ve been able to identify nine new turtles and seen several of our previous nesters returning. First, our new girls!
We found three neophytes (presumed first time nesters and recruits to the population). Enid Fern – SPP366 – named by Amy Frey and Susie Knoell, Nikki – SPP407 – named by Louisa Porter, and SPP402 – who needs a name!
VOS0050 – This turtle was our first recorded South Beach nester and first time nester on Sandy Point, her tags are from our colleagues in Vieques! We are waiting to see when she was tagged.
Culebra – 3015 – Thursday the 26 April was a night for Puerto Rican turtles! Just after the Vieques turtle was found, we found Culebra, who was tagged on Culebra, PR, but has nested here since 2008. She was last seen in 2016.
BB2 – SPP098 – named by Amy Frey and Susie Knoell in honor of their dear friend Becky – she’s nested in 2014 (three times) and is back here again this year.
Caicos – AAV694 – named by Louisa Porter – Caicos has been nesting since 2001, and has been a very productive nester – she was last seen in 2012.
Finally, just last night, we had SPP259 and SPP111 – they both need names! Both these turtles have nested before at Sandy Point, SPP259 is from 2007 and SPP111 is from 2012.
Of our regular nesters, the following turtles have returned since 19 April: Barnacle4, Jumbie, MaryLisa, YaYa and Rose! There are now over 60 nests in the refuge, and we expect more this week! Thanks to all of you who have called, emailed, commented or asked us about the turtles. We love to see the interest!
Photos by Jeremy Smith (@ecojer), taken under appropriate permits.