Paddle Boarding Adventures

Sometimes a familiar activity opens the door to new experiences.

Paddle boarding has become familiar to me over the past number of years in Mexico. But each trip out into the Sea of Cortez seems to bring new adventure.

Just last month, we stopped to snorkel and besides seeing so many beautiful fish, there were sea lions swimming under us. Then this week, we had an incredible experience when we helped preserve turtle eggs.

We stopped for a walk and to enjoy a quiet morning on the beach, where we met a local man who was leading a couple on a kayaking tour. He showed us the tracks where a female sea turtle had obviously shuffled up to shore the night before, under the bright, full moon. We could see where she laid her eggs and buried them, as there was a depression and a spot where the sand had been disturbed. She then shuffled back to the ocean, leaving another set of tracks away from her nest.

Mama Sea Turtle’s tracks to and from her nesting site.

This gentleman had experienced this before, so he called the agency that protects sea turtles. The eggs are in danger from many sources, including those who eat turtle eggs, according to our new friend, and mama turtle doesn’t return to her nest. 

The biggest culprit however is human development, as mega resorts and housing developments all along the beaches of Los Cabos threaten the natural environment of the variety of turtles here. Leveling the coastal dunes and the resulting human activity on the beaches, from ATVs to horseback-riding tours to shore-fishing, “have the potential to adversely impact sea turtle habitat and nesting activity.” 

When the eggs hatch, the little ones face a dangerous trip ahead to get to the ocean and predators at every turn. So preservation societies protect the eggs and help the babies hatch and get to sea safely, ensuring turtle numbers are increasing.

After calling a preservation society, this gentleman was asked to bring the eggs into the society, where they will be protected until hatching in a nesting environment, and then released to the ocean when it’s time. The big resorts along the shoreline also hold turtle release events for tourists, but at least they are making protection efforts. So, we proceeded to help this gentleman collect 102 eggs, which he wrapped in cloth and transported to the protection agency. It was a delight to meet someone who cares about the environment.

I’m on the left handing eggs to Zarah, who placed them in a grid as she counted them.

Check out the photos, this was the experience of a lifetime. Eggs slightly larger than a golf ball or ping pong ball, with a surface more durable than a chicken egg but somewhat pliable, almost leathery. It was also amazing to see the tracks and how deep she dug her eggs. She was a busy lady under the light of the moon, and I loved being able to help her soon-to-be babies. 

The eggs unearthed by our new friend.

PS – I forgot to mention that a pelican pooped on me while boarding, which the local gentleman said is good luck. It stunk like, well fish poop, but I guess it was good luck because shortly after we experienced our turtle adventure.

Pelican poop brought good luck on this day!
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