Journeys

We have been coming to *Cabo since 2006, roughly every couple/3 years. This is one place that, as my husband astutely observed, slows time down. Personally, Cabo is a sort of windshield wiper for me. It seems as if every time my vision had been clouded, coming to Cabo seems to have sorted it out. Cleared the cobwebs, so to speak. Gave me perspective. Even if it was temporary.
The first time we came here in ’06, I had been going through a change of sorts with my health, and a restlessness had crept into my soul. When we went back home, I started writing more seriously, with a couple of dear friends, on a private blog, and discovered the joy of writing.
We came again in 2010, and a few months later, I retired from professional life, (at least I thought I did, but it lasted about 3 years), and spent the senior year of my son’s high school at home, practicing SAT words with him, and delivering hot lunches. And opened up my blog to the public.
It’s 2017, and we are back. This time, I wasn’t necessarily looking for any inspiration, but was looking forward to getting away and relax. But Cabo never disappoints. For the first time, we got an ocean front, first floor apartment, which we always ask for but never get. This time, we asked almost as a routine, not really expecting to get it, but guess what! We got a first floor, walk-out-into-the-ocean apartment, and discovered that we could watch the sun rise as well as set.
But we also got a bonus gift that we didn’t even know existed—we got to watch baby turtles (hatchlings being the correct term) being released into the ocean, right in front of the apartment we were assigned to. And I learned all about turtle hatching, imprinting, nesting, and, incidentally, finding your way home.
This is how it happens: mommy turtle finds a good spot on the beach (mating happens in the ocean) to lay her eggs, does her job, and buries them in a nest in the sands. She covers the nest with sand and vegetation for good measure to camouflage it. Then she leaves them, completely untended, and sets off for the ocean without a backwards glance.
These eggs, if they survive the predators and natural disasters—birds, dogs, ghost crabs, humans (by trampling on them accidentally, or stealing prized turtle eggs), weather, hatch. It seems every resort has started an outfit to commercialize this natural phenomenon by offering “Baby Turtle Release” as a tourist attraction, but we got it watch it as it unfolded in the place we were staying. Around 9 pm one night, I watched two guys with flash lights digging in the nests. I am not sure how they know where the eggs are, and none of the words in my 10-word Spanish vocabulary of greetings, inquiring about another’s wellbeing, saying thanks and counting to ten were of much help in getting the details.
At dawn, I hurried out to see if they were still there, and was delighted to find them with a pail into which they were collecting the brand spanking new hatchlings. I ran down to where they were, phone in hand. I asked them if they had stayed there the whole night, and they responded “Si”. I don’t know for sure, but I think they understood my question. They had about 20-30 of tiny wiggling hatchlings in the pail, and with gloved hands, released them on a downward slope, in the direction of the big old body of water. They use gloves because these turtles, when they are ready to make their nests of eggs, will use what’s known as imprinting to find this exact beach to do it. The temperature of the sand, the nest, the winds, and many other factors help them retain this imprint, and touching them with your bare hands interferes with this beautiful mechanism.
As the guy poured the hatchlings like he was spreading fertilizer on the sand in a row, they all started wiggling their way towards “home”. There was one that was facing away from the ocean and miraculously turned towards the ocean before moving. The white crest of the waves is their guiding light, and for this reason, most ocean sides these days have a light ordinance, as the artificial light, especially if white, could disorient them.
It was at once the most moving, and the most painful sight I have ever witnessed—the hatchlings seemed stunned at first, and then slowly started moving, their tiny flippers going strong. Most moved towards the ocean, but some moved sideways, or not at all. Some turned over on their backs, waving their flippers ineffectually, and one of the guys would flip them on to their belly if they seemed really stuck.
There was one that seemed to have not bought into this whole deal at all, and simply wouldn’t move. I panicked, thinking maybe it had died, or worse, couldn’t move. The guy picked it up, moved it a few feet down, giving it a head start. The word privilege crossed my mind briefly, which I regretted immediately.
My heart was in my mouth as the waves came closer and swept them into the ocean. Their journey had begun.
It’s been seven years since I thought I retired. I went back to work, but now am on the cusp of another life change, at a crossroads again. As my journey continues, I have more questions than answers anymore. I don’t know if this journey is charted into a pre-determined path, or if it’s all completely random, driven by the winds of change, guided by unseen hands and distant horizons, and vague plans for the future. Where will the next 7 years, 7 months, 7 days, 7 hours, or 7 minutes take me? Wherever it is, the journey is mine, and mine alone. I think that is Cabo’s answer to me this time, obvious though it may be.
Watch my videos of these babies being released into the ocean at the links below.
* From Wikipedia:
“Cabo San Lucas. Cabo San Lucas (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈkaβo san ˈlukas], Cape Saint Luke), commonly called Cabo in American English, is a city at the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula, in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur. Cabo San Lucas together with San José del Cabo is known as Los Cabos.”
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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. river555
    Nov 25, 2017 @ 06:23:37

    How awesome that you got to see this! I’ve read about it and watched videos, but to see it in real life is certainly special!

    Like

    Reply

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