We took a chance last night and did some early short patrols with the rangers to see if we could find our first leatherback… and success! After 3 hours of walking in the beautiful cool weather under bright stars, we were about to turn in for the night when we saw a dark shape on the shoreline ahead of us. Our first turtle of the 2019 is now identified! She is Lucky, adopted by Sara Symons. Lucky was nearly ready to lay her eggs when we found her so we watched quietly behind her as she began. Then we quickly checked her tags and found that she is TTZ460, a turtle last seen during the 2017 season, when she nested four times. She’s been nesting at Sandy Point since 2007, so she is familiar to us. Once we’d checked her over for injuries (some old scars) and looked for other tags, we watched her under the rising moon (out of her sight) as she carefully covered her nest at her slow methodical pace. She finally wandered off the beach about 2 am and we wandered home, happy to have found her! The track in the picture is the one that Lucky left last night, photographed by the rangers today on their morning patrol.
The St. Croix Leatherback Project is supported by the Sea Turtle Census Initiative, which is sponsored by The Ocean Foundation, which is a 501(c)(3) organization, based in Washington, D.C., but working globally to protect our oceans.