Sunday, July 31, 2011

Baby turtles!!

By now, anyone who knows me at ALL knows I am slightly obsessed with my camera. I take it every where. Heaven forbid a Kodak moment go by without it being eternally captured by my lens. If you've hung out with me for even an extended amount of time, I may also pose you until I get just the right shot. I may ask you to do something ridiculous, like jump off a rock or a tree stump. I may ask you to twist into the "squishy face" or stand toe-to-toe for a foot picture. You may be given a prop to hold or model with. Whatever. All for the shot. All for remembering moments that we can (for the most part) never relive again!! So alas, to my shock, horror and dismay! I did not have my trusty camera with me for one of the most incredible moments of my life!! I was with the Virginia team doing evangelism on the beach in Nosara and had decided I didn't want to bring my camera...mostly because I knew it was going to rain. I had left it at the hotel hoping to go back later in the day for it. 

Fortunately, someone else did....Because that day we saw one of the most incredible miracles of God's creation...the birth of turtles and their brave new-born journey to the ocean!!! Johnny, Shannon, and I were walking down the beach to go shell hunting when all of a sudden I saw a tiny creature scuttling down the beach in front of us. "A baby turtle!!" I exclaimed. It ended up being the first of probably 50 or 60 turtles. We ended up finding the nest and watching in awe as they scrambled over vines and branches to get to the beach sands. They then made tracks to the ocean. When they arrived at the shore, a gigantic, merciless wave would come crashing in and sweep them out, but amazingly, we could see them swimming in the waves that were sucking them out.
 It's truly mind-blowing to think that these palm-sized newborns have the instinct to hatch from their eggs,
start scuttling (for lack of a better word...turtle army crawl? scurry? flipper?...I think I'll stick with scuttle.)

They really did make the cutest tracks in the sand. lesson learned. When we first saw them, our natural instinct was to pick them up. I mean, dude, we are the touchy-feely generation. BUT we realized after 2.5 seconds we really shouldn't be picking them up. So before you call PETA on me, only 3 or 4 were actually touched...the rest we left alone. We didn't even help them over the vines and tangles and branches because we knew they needed to do it without human interference...  

You have to admit, the turtle is REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY cute!!!! You probably would have had the same instinct.

Some fun facts about turtles. The information is from wikipedia, (the parenthesis are my own thoughts...) Costa Rica is one of the most important nesting grounds for sea turtles. Mature turtles often return to the exact beach from which they hatched. (so maybe in a few years we will see these little turtles again!!) Females usually mate every two to four years. Males, on the other hand, visit the breeding areas every year, attempting to mate (go figure). After mating in the water, the female moves above the beach's high tide line, where she digs a hole with her hind flippers and deposits her eggs. Clutch size depends on the age of the female and species, but can range between 100 and 200 (yowzers!!).  She then covers the nest with sand and returns to the sea. At around 45 to 75 days, the eggs hatch during the night (except, surprisingly enough, for us. We saw them around 3PM), and the hatchlings instinctively head directly into the water. This is the most dangerous time in a turtle's life. As they walk, predators, such as gulls and crabs, grab them (not on our watch!!!). Since they are born at night, they use the light reflecting off the surface of the water to guide them to the ocean. One danger to this process is light pollution from beachfront homes. Many turtles never make it to the ocean because they are disoriented by the light. A significant percentage never make it to the ocean (EVERY single turtle we saw hatch made it to the ocean!!!!).

What an incredible gift that God gave us! The ability to see one of His precious creatures surviving in the wild! What a great lesson for us, as well. When we are born again in Christ, we are also called to make the journey into the kingdom of God. It is a journey by faith that can seem long and difficult. There are natural predators out there that would try to kill and destroy us before we can enter into His kingdom. There are also false lights that would try to disorient us from where we should be going. But with help, we can make it to the shore.

1 comment:

  1. I was there, too!!! ;) And I was one of those bad people that picked up a turtle to help him over the humps and bumps to get to the ocean. But you're right. They gain their strength when they do it themselves. I'm glad I'm not a turtle!!! I have struggled with my walk with God, falling, getting back up, falling, getting back up. Because in God's grace and mercy, He meets me in the wake of my foolishness to pick me up and help me over those hurdles....called stupidity!!!! Love you, Jules Jewels!!!