Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Things I Love About South Florida #8 - Sea Turtle Nesting!

The sight you see in the above photograph is completely unique to South Florida and as we are in the height of turtle season, I thought I'd share this with you all.

South Florida doesn't have the traditional seasons like everywhere else in the world. You know Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. We have Rainy Season, Hurricane Season, Turtle Season, Tourist Season and Social Season (which is strictly for Rich White People), and we also have a half-assed Christmas Season in which we put twinkle lights on pink flamingos and palm trees and parade our Santa's around in Tommy Bahama shirts and swim trunks. Currently we are nearing the peak of both Turtle Season and Hurricane Season. Some people call this Off Season. That means hotels are cheap because it's 107 degrees outside (literally) and because at any given moment we could be blown off the map by a storm.

At this time of year all over the beach you'll see these turtle nests all staked out with yellow tape as if small, square, brutal murders had occurred randomly all up and down the shore. It looks like a multitude of crime scenes. Thankfully it's just turtle breeding ground. South Florida is one of only two places in the whole entire world where Loggerhead turtles go to lay their eggs and we South Floridians are extremely proud of this distinction. The other place is in the Persian Gulf I think and I can guarantee you, those people over there are not nearly as proud of being a turtle nesting ground as we are.

Note the sign. It says all sorts of legal sounding things. It has to. It's trying to be very scary. Why, you ask. Why do you people go to such lengths to cordon off turtle nests like that and why do you want to scare people? Because there is always some jackass who will come along and mess with things he isn't supposed to mess with.

The turtles are endangered, so we humans, who are supposed to be blessed with superior intelligence, have the responsibility of making sure the baby turtles make it out of their shells safely without some morons digging them up and playing paddle ball with their eggs. There are hundreds of people who volunteer their time in the middle of the night, to watch for nesting turtles. Then, when the turtles leave they put up the stakes and tape. A few months later they come back and wait for the babies to hatch and then they guide them to the water, keeping birds and jackasses away from them.

Whenever you see a warning sign - be it the tag that says not to use the hairdryer in the bathtub, or the piece of paper that says not to iron your clothes while wearing them - it means that some utter fool has done that very thing, which is why they had to make a sign. This is the case with the turtle nests too. Usually it's someone who wants a pet sea turtle, but who lacks an ocean to keep it in, so the turtle dies within hours. More often, and more disturbing, it's poachers. I hate stupidity more than anything, but more than just average dumbassedness, I hate the kind of stupidity that's selfish and deviant enough to think that parts of endangered animals will actually keep your dick hard for hours on end and cause women to swoon over your permanent erections by the hundreds.

This is the kind of stupid, primitive and disgusting nonsense that really irritates me. Can you actually believe that people think that eating sea turtle eggs are Viagra's equivalent? I mean, why not just get some Viagra? We all get a hundred spams a day offering black market Viagra. You don't even have to go to the doctor. Why not take a pill instead of eating turtle eggs? Animals have to go extinct so some idiot from some country can get it up for six hours? Hey - note to turtle egg poachers: No woman wants to be fucked for six hours straight anyway.

But because this kind of stupidity exists, we have to have scary signs all over the turtle nests and thank God we have some major penalties if you're caught. They don't play around when it comes to sea turtles. You could seriously, probably kill a homeless person and get less time in prison than if you jacked around with a turtle nest.

Translated from legalese into actual English that sign says something to the effect of that if you dig up, mess with or look at this turtle nest the wrong way that the wrath of God will rain upon you. Lightning will streak down from heaven and the sand below your feet will give way and consume you and there will be a special circle of Hell dedicated to horrible individuals like yourself who have dared mess with the sacred turtle nest and you will spend all eternity stuck in a shell, breathing salt water as the propellers of boats hack away at your back.

So for all of the rotten assholes we have down here with their white collar crime and shameless whoring, we also have people kind enough to look out for defenseless animals and to get laws passed protecting them. I think I can live in a place like that.

Update: I got some more information on the sea turtle nesting. The two biggest nesting areas are here and Oman, and they do protect them and take care of them there too. For some very good and interesting information on sea turtles you can go HERE.


Anonymous said...

Absolutely one of the best things about Florida!

My mother got married at sunset on Palm Beach. Apparently we were set up near a nest (there were no markings) because as soon as they said "I do" the turtles all dug themselves out of the sand and ran down the beach toward the water. It was one of those rare picturesque moments and everyone was admiring the babies from afar. It's probably the first time I ever really appreciated Florida for anything.

...and then some random kid with his parents walked by and they stepped on two of them. Everyone in the wedding party went into a blind rage and I'm pretty positive those people will never set foot on the beach again!

Anonymous said...

You, my dear, are so amazing. Being an intense animal lover myself, I enjoyed this story. Didn't know this even occurred.

P.S. The story about the shoes was hillarious. I went to Nordstrom's to price them--$250 to $300 for Sam & Libby wannabes. I could not believe it. I think they're rather white trash ugly too.

Lori V. said...

Fantastic post! I do love well-written entries like this, and I do love nature... thank you, and I'm off to read some more of your site.

Anonymous said...

Loggerheads also lay their eggs up the Atlantic coast as far north as North Carolina. There is a marvelous subplot in "Beach Music" by Pat Conroy about the turtles.

The other place you're thinking of where they lay eggs is on the south coast of Turkey. I can assure you that they are pretty serious about protecting the turtles there.

Mim said...

"No woman wants to be fucked for six hours straight anyway." AMEN SISTER!

Where I vacation in North Carolina is a turtle sanctuary. Very neat. I love sea turtles. They're majestic and prehistoric. In short, they're neat.

gulfsidebo said...

We have turtle nesting over here on the West coast of Florida too. My friend works for the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and helps post/protect nesting areas and he helps rescue sick turtles as well. One time, in Ft. Lauderdale, I saw one come out of the Atlantic at night to lay its eggs. It was doing so next to a passed-out drunk, who woke up scared out of his wits when he saw the turtle digging next to his head. Of course, this scared the Mama turtle too and she didn't lay them. She headed back out to the water. I was pissed that he ruined all of her work. It must have taken her 20 minutes to dig the hole. We watched it all right before our eyes. It was amazing.

Dave said...

Actually, the biggest threat to turtle nests in SoFla has been the overbuilding of condos and hotels along the beach line. The lights distract the newborns on their way out to the sea. The babies use the moonllight to direct themselves to the sea and artificial lighting tends to fuck that up. I grew up here and I remember thousands of turtle nests that were undisturbed by humans as no one really even thought to dig up or eat the eggs.

Subservient No More said...

Yes that's true. Now they have all the street lights turned off at night, which is very nice. That way the hatchlings don't get confused and go on the street. But I saw the thing about the poachers on the news. I was horrified.

gulfsidebo said...



MP said...

They are SO flippin cute, makes you hugary for soup doesn't it? JUST kidding.
I love those signs that tell us things like: Don't let children play with the plastic bag. At least it leaves a chuckle for us w/ an imagination picturing the idiot's that actually tried those things.
4 months since I was on a beach..I'm ready again.

Anonymous said...

We vacation at Cape san Blas Fl
every July. (on the panhandle
about an hour east of PC beach)
Is the first time I saw the sea turtle nests.
Have always wanted to see them coming out of nest !

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