Wednesday, July 25, 2012

One Moonless Night

While in Florida my family frequently chose to head to the beach at night.  It's very peaceful at that time and the ocean very beautiful.  We get our feet a little wet in the waves and just appreciate God's creation for maybe an hour.

One night we didn't get there until about 10:30 PM.  There was no moon.  My husband Mike does not usually bring a flashlight but he did that night.  Several of us were further ahead when we saw a frantic moving back and forth of the flashlight beam.  I looked back to see my daughter gesturing urgently to come back.  Wondering what was wrong we rushed back to join them.

They silently gestured further up on the sand.  There was a great mass of something thrashing rather wildly.  Loud whispers followed, "A turtle!  A turtle!!"

It was a sea turtle burying her eggs!!

After she had finished, she slowly and made her way back down to the ocean.  She was a magnificent creature.  I don't believe I have ever seen such a large animal outside of a zoo.  Her back alone was probably five feet long, not including her legs and head.  Her head was much larger than a human head.  Her eyes were like baseballs.  As she moved slowly and gracefully back to the sea her path came about twenty feet from where we stood.  We were awe struck.  She lay in the wet sand.  A few small waves gently touched her.  Then a large wave engulfed her and she disappeared.  "Wow," several of us quietly whispered.  We knew we had just witnessed what most people will never have an occasion to see.  As one of my daughters said, "It was like seeing a dinosaur."

Judging from photos, we believe she was a leatherback turtle, an endangered species.  They can grow up to seven feet long and weigh more than 2,000 pounds.  Most of the offspring do not survive.  One site said that only about 1 in 1,000 hatchlings make it.  Some are consumed by predators before they reach the ocean.  Others are consumed by humans who consider them aphrodisiacs.  (I know.  Please.  An endangered species!!)

We tried to take pictures with cell phones but it was much too dark.

I have seen the sea turtle nests cordoned off on the beach before and never thought much about them.  Let me tell you, I will be thinking about them now.  I will be thinking about the gigantic creature who crawled out of the ocean one moonless night to leave her eggs in the sand.  And I will be thinking about the glory of God all over creation and the responsibility of all of us, His children, to protect and care for His creatures.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this experience. Amazing.


Kalona said...

What a blessing that was, to see the sea turtle! Your vacation sounds delightful.

Rosemary Bogdan said...

Thank you, Mary and Kalona. (Great seeing you the other day, Mary!) Yes, Kalona, it was a very nice vacation and this was the highlight. :-)