Walking along the sunny beach of Sayulita Mexico, I noticed this small creature scuttling across the sand. A crab, I guessed at first, but then I had a closer look and saw that it was a cute, tiny, baby sea turtle. Freshly hatched, it was making its laborious way to the ocean.
Looking around, I realized the turtle and I were not alone. There were three other turtles, all clutching their way forward over the sand toward the surf, and several people as well. A young man and woman, it turned out, were guardians of the turtles and had protected them while they matured in their eggs and hatched. Now they had brought them to the edge of the sea for their final dash into the ocean that will be their home as they grow and mature.
These are Olive Ridley Turtles, a species that is protected in the Sayulita area by human guardians because poaching had reduced their numbers dangerously. Presumably, scrambling had also reduced their numbers, and maybe over easying and omeletting too.
The local people have now gotten with the program and the numbers of Olive Ridleys have been increasing lately. However, considering that turtle hatchlings formerly covered the beaches in waves of thousands, it still struck me as not too promising that there were just four on this given day. Never fear, I was reassured, these are just four late hatchlings. The big wave of new turtles had already emerged from the sand and hit the surf during the summer months.
So that’s the new way of life for sea turtles these days. Endangered by human predators, they are shepherded by humans as well. It’s the new balance of nature.
It seems that every time I come to Sayulita, a new type of creature: iguana, sea turtle, frog, or maybe on today’s trek to San Blas, a crocodile, comes along to inspire me. With so many interesting beasties, can a new Dinosaur Tale be far behind? I’m already thinking of writing the huge Cretaceous turtle, Archelon, into my next story. Let’s see, a turtle the size of a small whale, there must be a story in there somewhere. Chase Armstrong, get ready…