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Friday, January 2, 2009

An unexpected visitor at Punta Gruesa

Another bright and breezy morning in Punta Gruesa, Nikki and Alex were busy preparing for the arrival of 22 expedition members in a matter of days when from the beach Massimo, the landlord whistled to catch their attention. “Tortuga! Turtle!” he exclaimed, holding something up between his thumb and forefinger that was indistinguishable from a distance. They exchanged a disbelieving glance, ‘turtle? We don’t get turtles on this beach,’ before both scurrying towards the ladder and scrambling down from the roof where they had been working. A mad dash across the sand and sure enough they found Leo, the landlords’ 7 year old son gently cradling a hatchling turtle in his cupped hands.

By his size he was a 2008 hatchling, however this beach and area are not known as turtle nesting sites unlike Tulum and the more northern Yucatan beaches. The turtle breeding season also ended in October, therefore the infant would have been in the water now for some weeks. Our assumption was that the poor little guy had been pushed off course by the storm the previous night and washed up with the seaweed.

After a few quick photos and lots of ‘ooh-ing and aah-ing’ he was identified as a hawksbill turtle and released back into the shallows of the lagoon to continue on his epic journey!!