Remember that when you leave this Earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received, only what you have given, a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage. -St. Francis of Assisi

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Sea Turtles

There are sunset cruises from South Padre Island every day, weather permitting.

I saw a post on Facebook about a special sunset cruise where 3 green sea turtles would be released back into the bay.  I called and reserved seats for Diane and Karl to go with me.

The cruise was on April 11th, this was also the first day of my Turtle Patrol.

Overnight Wed. Apr. 10th to Thurs. Apr. 11th, the weather was stormy, rainy and very windy. The "Mama" sea turtles like to come ashore to nest on windy days.

My patrol was scheduled to start at 8am, it was still raining and windy.  I delayed my start until 9am. The shore was in bad shape. The tides were high and it was still windy. 

click on pictures to enlarge

We are assigned a zone that is around 1.5 miles long. You slowly walk the zone, take a break, and walk back to the starting point.  My GPS watch calculated the zone at 1.8 miles, one way. I also walk to the beginning of the zone from my RV site, so it's 5 - 6 miles total.

The beach was hidden under the high tide, I was walking on the dunes and sometimes at the edge of the water. There was no one else on the beach. The winds had started to slow down, but the waves were still high. It was actually quite peaceful walking along alone, looking for signs of sea turtles.

We are looking for tracks made by the turtles as they go up towards the dunes to lay their eggs. If we are lucky, we will actually see a turtle making the nest and laying the eggs.

I did not see any turtles on Thursday morning. I saw some 'disturbed sand' that looked like the pictures of nests that we were shown.  I met the director of Sea Turtle Inc at that site, he checked it out and did not find a nest. He gave me more tips on what to look for on my next patrol.

Our sunset cruise was from 6pm - 8pm. It was a dolphin watch, sunset cruise, and turtle release. The weather continued to improve during the day, the temps were lower than normal, but the sun warmed us. 

The boat went out to a cove at the south end of the island.  Wow,  there were dolphins everywhere.  I said to the kids that it looked like they set this up.  But Jeff, the director of Sea Turtle Inc said he had never seen so many dolphins in one place.  I did not take any still pictures, but have a few video clips from my phone. I posted them on Facebook and have to figure out how to get the videos on the blog.  I will make a separate post for the videos.

The boat stayed in this area for almost an hour.  We saw many dolphins including some babies. Then it was time to move over to South Bay.

The turtles being released were Green Sea Turtles that feed on sea grass.  Jeff said they would stay in the bay until they were 250# then they would move into the Gulf.

These turtles were small, wonder how long it will take them to get to that size.

Thursday was a great day on the Island. Sea Turtles and Dolphins and a fun cruise with the kids.


  1. Beautiful sunset shot! Y'know, it's funny, I never considered the weather & elements when you signed up for this. I was excited over turtles! I'll bet it was fun releasing the sea turtles. I hope you find a nest soon! That will be cool too.

  2. What a neat experience. A beautiful sunset cruise, dolphins everywhere and releasing sea turtles. Can't get much better than that.

  3. Sounds like a fun day.

  4. This is going to be quite an adventure for you. I can't wait to read more and thanks for the pictures.

  5. Teri, that's great work your doing. Thank you.

  6. That's a lot of walking! Thank you for doing such a great job. Those turtles must be wonderful to see.

  7. Boy I am in a giant state of envy about this day. It sounds just perfect to me. I would love to do turtle patrol and seeing them released to make their way in the world is terrific. Add all the dolphins and wow would I have loved to have been there. Lucky kids yours!! I think I'm too old to be adopted.

  8. You are going to have a great time...walking that beach alone looking for wonderful!!!

  9. So you are staying in Texas? How long? Summers will be brutal...I hope you will have hookups and AC. Guess our paths will have to wait to cross.
    Box Canyon Mark

  10. How good you are helping the sea turtles, I always think they are wise animals, and they are vulnerable nesting and then hatching on beaches. The cruise sounded like fun too.

  11. Sounds like you're having a great time. I'm a bit envious that your doing the sea turtle thing. Maybe next year for me.
    Weather is either too hot or too cold... 95 yesterday and 43 this morning.

  12. Sounds like a GREAT experience to be out there with the sea turtles! You are having lots of wonderful adventures!

  13. I would love to see the turtles.

  14. We were there a couple of days after this post and also saw many dolphins. They were visible from Pier 19, and from the jetty on the south end of the island. Fun to watch them. Also, saw a turtle from the jetty.


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