18 Jul 2011

‘Jam-pack’ weekend

MapThis weekend I was incommunicado because I went turtle watching at Grand Reviere. For those who do not know where that is, it is located a bit past Toco.

It is the first time in my life that I have ever been turtle watching. It was eye opening in many respects.

Firstly, I did not realise that one had to obtain a permit in order to go onto the beach to see the turtles come to lay their eggs. The cost is not expensive, TT$15 per person. For foreigners it is a bit higher.

Secondly, the people who went to see the turtles, locals that is, were an untrained, unmannerly, ‘never-see-come-see’ lot. Really. Here’s the story:

We went on the beach with a guide and about 70 persons. Mrs Jumbie and I were straggling a bit since walking on the sand in the dark (about 9 PM) was difficult… about 3 minutes onto the beach, Mrs Jumbie almost stepped onto a wriggling black mass. Using the dim glow from my phone screen, we ascertained that it was about 5 baby leatherbacks, now wriggling out of a hole in the ground. Calling the others, we were soon surrounded by many persons who used torches, flash from cameras etc to see the turtles, despite the protests from the guide that the bright lights confuse the baby turtles.

2011-07-17 10.43.03Now, soon after, an adult leatherback came up to lay. I have no pictures of this one since it was too dark and flash was banned. Anyway, immediately, all present, except for my little group, rushed forward to see it. Result… a whole number of the little hatchlings were crushed underfoot in the ‘stampede’. I was so disgusted, I left the beach, thinking that Monkey Islanders will never, ever improve on their behaviour. Pearls before swine, indeed.

2011-07-17 11.35.33The next day, our group went back, and were able to see some late hatchlings, and rescue several from the birds.


2011-07-17 10.45.51





The photo on the left shows the underside of a baby. The opening in the belly is dragged on the beach when the turtle gets moving to the sea. Somehow this ‘programs’ the GPS’ in the turtles’ brains and they are able to return in 20 years to the same beach on which they were born to lay their own eggs. Fascinating. If they don’t crawl to the sea on their own, they don’t return. Or so we’ve been told by the experts at the beach.

I’ll post some more pictures of the trip on another post, but now I want to move on to what I missed over the weekend.

First of all, I found out like Pastor Cuffie, Suruj Rambachan has been promoting himself as a ‘doctor’ (Ph D qualifications) from a university whose credentials are suspect. Ah well, if Reshmi could have a non-existent degree, who is cousin Suruj, eh?

Then I found out P**rick was padding the pockets of former Special Branch Retired Asst Commissioner of Police Mervyn Guiseppi. To the tune of millions each year.

Then I find out we’ve all been misinterpreting the Constitution.

Another ‘Mary King’ in the making.

Dunceys still at it

Well, there’s more but in the interest of mental wellbeing I opt to depart at this point. (^_^)