Good morning and welcome to another episode of the turtle blog.
I spent last week out West in a town called Guzelyurt. This was my first week of day-work in 8 weeks of night-work and I was desperate to get some sun. Every morning we’d wake up at 5 and go off-road to the West beaches where we would poke for nests, measure tracks and try on some of the random clothes we found washed up on the beach. Although it is supposed to be coming to the end of the season for nesting turtles, we still found a high number of nests on all of the 5 west beaches.
Out in Guzelyurt, the afternoons are your own so we wondered around town and made friends with some of the locals. We were taken on a tour of a nearby supermarket car park whilst Turkish drum and base blast out from the car sterio, invited for Turkish Coffee and challenged to a game of backgammon on the street. Eventually Heather and I managed to win 2 games to 1 (mum i hope you're proud), which didn’t seem to go down too well with our friendly Turkish man. Apparently losing Backgammon to British girls is humiliating! We also visited some ruins from over 300 BC and watched the sun set whilst eating home made (by Ainslie) banana pancakes over Monster (a particularly hideous beach). It was a very relaxing week and it was nice to see some more of Northern Cyprus, but its great to be back at the goatshed!
Last Monday we had our first public excavation of a hatched loggerhead nest. We all traipsed down to Alagadi 1 armed with weighing scales, tape measures and clip-boards ready to dig down for forgotten hatchlings. After a fair amount of digging by those enthusiastic to get sweaty, we found a number of hatchlings at the bottom of the nest, which were unlikely to surface on their own.
These hatchlings were weighed and measured and the number of hatched and un-hatched eggshells counted. We also opened any failed eggs to note the stage of development, this information is used in analyses later. Once all the visitors had seen the little loggers and the sun had become cooler, we released the hatchlings back into the water. Creating a line in the sand as a starting platform and using the sea as the finish line, the hatchlings didn’t know how much was riding on their being the first to the water! To everyone that was there, we hoped you enjoyed seeing the hatchlings return to the water as much as we did.
On waking after 9 tiring hours at the beach on Wednesday, we were greeted with ‘Move Hay Bales’ on the job list. At first this doesn’t sound too bad but on going round the back of the cow shed we were met with a pile of bales that seemed to reach to the sun. Three gallons of sweat, two hay fights and one hay rash later the job was done.
This week we also said goodbye to some of our favourite volunteers. Gill and Libby left on Tuesday morning and Emma left after a night of debauchery at 3 o clock Wednesday morning. We miss them loads and wish they’d come back. We do however have many new volunteers who seem to be getting stuck into Cyprus life. Josh and Henry came last week and just a few days ago Sean, Tom, Iona and Samuel turned up and finally Jim Bob has returned after just a few weeks. He obviously couldn’t keep himself away! Everyone seems to have settled in well, although we are starting to wonder if Henry suffers from narcolepsy or whether he’s just having problems adjusting to our nocturnal lifestyle.
Sam (now known as Other One Sam) would also like me to mention that it is his last week because apparently everything is about him.
Celli and Kim