By Sven-Olof Lindblad
Today was sea turtle day—morning, noon, and night. Don’t know how many we saw today but more than 30 to be sure. The guests are mad keen on snorkeling—from 5 years old to 93, they are absolutely enchanted with everything undersea. And this week has been full of remarkable sightings from penguins to playful sea lions to wary octopus. But today the sea turtles stole the show as they grazed on algae in the shallows where the gentle surge would bring us together to within a foot or two. It all feels like slow motion, which I guess it is and it makes sense.
I thought a lot today about how hard it is for a sea turtle to become an adult. From the moment a mother lays her eggs the challenges start. In some parts of the world the eggs are coveted by lizards, wild pigs, and humans. For those that are not consumed as eggs the path to adulthood is treacherous with very small odds of survival. As the babies emerge from the nest there are all manner of predators waiting for them…hawks, frigatebirds, raccoons, pelicans, and more. The few that actually make it to the water must then face small sharks, groupers, and other fish who await them. Only a very small fraction survive the first hour of life and then for those that do there are months of treachery to cope with, including human hunters who crave their meat.
And miraculously some survive to adulthood like those we saw today. Few animals face so many challenges to get here and to have the opportunity to produce their young so the species can continue. So I looked at them today with great respect and admiration.