Hi, I’m Gridley, or Gridley the Ridley, as I am known around Banderas Bay, Mexico. Why the long name you ask? That’s easy. I am a Ridley’s Olive Sea Turtle. Oh, just so you know, in Mexico all sea turtles are tortugas.
This is my first view of the world. I’ve busted out already. Two of my sibs are right behind me but I’m the first. I’ve been incubating in a cosy nest my mom dug and filled with 100 eggs of my brothers and sisters. 55 days ago my mom came back to the same beach, Nuevo Vallarta on the Pacific coast of Mexico where she was born and then left 8 years ago. She put all the eggs in a sandy nest 12-20 inches under the surface where it’s warm and moist. Knowing she had made us as safe as possible she went back to the sea.
Here are some more of my brothers and sisters that the biologist dug out so that we could all get into the sea tonight while the sea birds sleep. When we’re this small we’re very tasty and lots of sea creatures would like us for a snack. Being released at night means that a few more of us might survive. The biologists help us too by patrolling the beach two to three times a night and finding the nests of other mother tortugas, digging up the eggs and putting them in a special nursery where the eggs can mature without being disturbed by people, dogs, or other predators, or even just being stepped on because this is a very busy tourist beach.
Our mom though was very crafty and we hatched from a wild nest, just like the old days before there were 29 hotels on this beach where tortugas have been coming to lay their eggs for 100s of years.
This video is of another nest that was hatched today in the nursery. They will be released with us tonight.
Now it’s sunset and time to go. A lot of the tourists come down to help see us off.
Each human has one of us and when the biologist gives the word, puts us down at the water’s edge and cheer.
Please note that my nice human has sand on her hands so she won’t transfer her scent or oils to me.
Tonight there are more than 200 hatchlings being released, my wild nest and the nursery hatchlings. There weren’t enough humans for all of us so the biologist dumps the rest near the water. I’m not the first into the sea but I’m saving myself for the rigours of dodging the hungry fish and dolphins over the next few months.
Gridley movin’ on video
I won’t have to find food immediately as I have a yolk sac that will supply my nourishment for the first 10 days. Then I’ll be looking for jellyfish, seaweed, sponges, snails and algae. When I’m bigger will add crabs, shrimp and mollusks.
It’s very important for me to be careful and survive as my specie, also known as Golfino in Mexico, is endangered. That means there aren’t many like me swimming around. It’s even worse for my cousins, the leatherback sea turtle. They are really endangered. They can hardly find each other in the big oceans.
Pic 5 Gridley almost there
Wish me luck and I’ll see you back here in Banderas Bay in about 8 years.
I need to thank my friend, Ayn Woodruff — Sailor-Storyteller-Dreamer-Dancer — for helping me tell my story. Gridley.