Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sea Turtle Safari

So it has been almost 2 months since I've blogged.  I can't believe I let myself get THAT far behind!!  How will I ever catch up???  So many fun things have happened in the past 2 months that there is so much to try to relive and remember for my kids and my readers.  First of all, thanks for sticking with me.  October was a bit of a downer month... this journey is such a roller coaster ride.... wait... maybe it wasn't October... it was September and I got so far behind that trying to catch up in October seemed impossible!  Then we tried to settle in our home with our stuff, get back into routine after our vacation to Oman, and then I was hit with the passing of my uncle and the sickness of my grandma.  All of that left me NO emotional energy to blog.  But I'm back... at least for today... and I'll just see how it goes.  I want SO desperately to get caught up before the New Year but we'll just have to see how possible that is.  So, get ready for the cliff note version of the past 2 months! :)
After our first full day in Oman, we went on a "Turtle Safari" that was hosted by our resort.  We all meet at 8pm and go walk the protected beach area looking for sea turtles that are laying eggs/ hatching eggs on the beach by the light of the moon!  When you first get to the protected area you come by the ranger station and they had a small tub of newly hatched turtles for us to see and hold!
Before we knew it, a ranger came up with a bucket full of turtles he dumped into the tub... a new nest of 70-100 turtles must have just hatched!  It was amazing to see and experience!
Owen was the first brave one to touch the babies and hold them.  They are VERY strong and squirmy!  They use the power of their front flippers to try to "fly" as we called it to get free and go swim. If your finger is behind the front flipper you feel the strength of those tiny flippers as they flap away.  I was SO amazed by the strength of this little tiny creature!
When I first heard we were going to be experiencing sea turtles my wish was to see a baby turtle makes it way across the beach and into the water.... that wasn't what we first saw but I was one step closer to having my wish come true!
When you go to the beach that is only lit up by the moon it is surreal... amazing!  I just took it all in as we walked along looking for a momma turtle... I kept saying, "Man, I can't believe we are here and doing this!  It is a once in a life time opportunity!"  And then we saw a momma working hard to cover up her newly laid eggs and I was in awe!  The work that this momma does to protect her eggs and the effort she puts into babies she will NEVER see is amazing!
These mommas make a LONG journey UP hill to the beach area and start digging.  The dig a couple of meters deep and lay their eggs.  After laying they cover the hold back up... move over a little, and dig another hole as a decoy hole to protect their eggs.  After digging the second hole, they climb up out of the hole and make their way to the beach.  This whole process takes an hour to an hour and a half.  It was amazing to see the sand flying and hear the momma breathing SO hard.  I would watch her stop to take a break and just look at the determination in her eyes.  I was so blessed to get to experience this up SO close!
After watching 3 mommas at different steps in the laying process, I came across this loan baby turtle making its way to the beach... must have been a late hatcher....I never got to see it go to the water but to see it on the sand making its way to the water was amazing.  See, we had to be careful.  If mommas in the water saw us they would not come up on the beach to lay their eggs and if they didn't come to lay their eggs then they would either have to discard their eggs into the water or hold them in and die so the rangers were very careful that we didn't disrupt the turtles too much, get to close to the water, or use the flash on our camera.
After exploring the beach, it was time to head home and the kids made sure we stopped back by to see the babies.  This time the younger two were more brave and willing to hold the baby turtles!
Tonight was an amazing experience I don't think any of us will forget!!!

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