Thursday, June 19, 2008

My Trip to Baja, California

As my first trip to Mexico, I already knew that it would be an experience of a lifetime. It would be "An Expedition" to monitor Sea Turtles in Magdelena Bay, as well as a timeless adventure in Mexico– meeting new people, and exploring the beautiful culture.
At first, I traveled only with the company of my mom, J.(marine biologist), his three-year old daughter Julia, and Elena(a student from Duke College), but once we arrived in the city of San Carlos, we met many more people, for example Julio, who we would soon be traveling with for a couple days, and a couple nights.
We left on two fishing boats out onto a beautiful island made of shells, then started setting up camp. We had everything: food, shelter, water, space. You could go looking for shells or swim in the clean water of Magdelena Bay. It was great!
Time passed, and soon it was time to put up the Sea Turtle monitoring nets. There would be two of them, side by side. After we set them up, all we could do is wait for the Sea Turtles to arrive. While waiting, we sat around the camp fire, had dinner, and set up a schedule of when you wanted to go check the nets. The Turtles would come every two hours, and mostly in the night time. That night, you had the choice of going at 8:00, 10:00, or 12:00. My mom and I chose to go at 10:00, with no one else except for the captain who would drive us and the fisherman would help untangle the Turtles from the nets.
Nobody had caught any at 8:00, so a couple hours later, we would try again. When it was time, my mom and I got our warm clothes on, and headed towards the boat. It wasn't a cold night, but on the boat, the speed would make it chillier. We got in the boat, and were soon off into the black night water. The Bay Breeze ran through our hair until we arrived at the nets. The fisherman worked together pulling the net out of the water while I held a flashlight that shined through the net watching for turtles.
Getting closer to the end of the net, the fisherman spotted something. "Is it a turtle????!!!" we asked him. It was! It came closer and closer until it was time to pull it into the boat. It was a Black Sea Turtle, big, already tagged, and strong. The fisherman fought its strength while untangling it from the net, then put it at the bottom of the boat. Throwing the net back into the bay, we continued our search. I stared at it on the way to the other net. What an experience: my first time seeing a Sea Turtle in the beauty of Magdelena Bay.
We caught another that night: untagged, and not as large as the other. We made our way back to the island, with two Black Turtles. When we got there the campfire still burned, as we told the other fisherman. In the next few days we would tag the turtles we caught, find information such as weight and size, then set them free back into the waters of Magdelena. That night became late, and soon time to rest after the long day, only our first day, of adventuring in Baja.


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