Today I patrolled Larga with Chelsea and Debra. We usually start walking the beach around 7 before it gets too hot. We have a sheet that tells us what nests are going to be hatching soon so we can keep checking them until they hatch. We walk the whole beach and along the way we look for turtle tracks and new nests. We found two new nests at Larga. When we find a new nest we take GPS coordinates, write notes in our field journals, and mark the spot with a stick and flagging. On the flagging we write what species of turtle nested, its usually tinglar (leatherback) or carey (hawksbill), then what beach, the way point number, the date, and our initials. We put two flags to indicate that we took the GPS coordinates. For example, a flag would have this, NT PL 233 2 Julio 2014 BH. At playa de California they found a hatched nest. When we find a nest that has hatched we dig it up, take out any alive baby turtles, and all of the eggs. We wash off the baby turtles in the ocean and if they are ready we put them in the sand and allow them to make there way to the ocean. We have to watch them to ensure no birds, crabs, or dogs eat them before they reach the water. We do not put them in the water because they have to crawl on the sand to imprint the information so the females know what beach to return to when they are adults to reproduce. If the turtles stomachs are still open we take them back to the center for a night or two and release them when they are ready. Once all of the eggs are dug up we sort them. We make three piles, one for the sacks, one for the hatched eggs, and one for the big eggs which may contain embryos. We open up the big eggs and keep track of how many have embryos and how many don’t. We count all of the piles and write the information in our notes which is later put in a database.
We are typically done by noon then we go back to the center for lunch, showers, and naps. This is a typical day for me. Once a week one of us stays at the center to clean and let any visitors into the center. We have a room that has turtle shells and information about the different species that come to Puerto Rico.