It’s the second week of my internship here at Padre Island National Seashore and it has been quite the experience. Tropical storm Bill made an appearance last week. I’ve never lived on a coast before so this was all new to me. As they were nonchalantly boarding up the windows in the visitor center, I was checking the forecast every 5 minutes worried I would have to evacuate to the mainland. Apparently I was overreacting (not surprised…). We got some thunderstorms and strong winds that shook the double-wide trailer the park provided as housing for me, but it wasn’t too bad. We did have to close the beach to camping and driving, however, because of the ridiculously high tides. The water was all the way up to the dunes! Luckily the storm passed just in time for the sea turtle release to go on. Wait, did I just say sea turtle release?
YES I DID!
I was fortunate enough to be a part of the first public release of sea turtles of the year! It was my day off, but it was well worth it. I arrived at the Malaquite Visitor Center at 6am to check in and learn some of the facts about the day’s hatchlings. There were 115 to be released from 2 nests found at the end of April. Ranger Buzz gave a talk to the public (hundreds of people turned up!) at the visitor center while some other volunteers and I made our way to the beach. We put on our gloves and each got to bring a baby sea turtle around the perimeter of the group that had formed so the public could get a closer look and a picture-perfect view. After a few minutes we would bring the turtle back to the larger group of turtles making their way into the ocean! It was so amazing to watch all of those little creatures take their first steps (is it a step? a paddle? I’m not sure) into the ocean. As we watched the last little turtle head disappear from view, everyone in the crowd clapped, happy they all made it safely into the water, but sad it was over. We can never be too sure about how many actually survive those first few days, but I have a good feeling about it.
Until next time,