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Digging a Sea Turtle’s Nest

The other day I was taking my morning walk down the beach between the area of Corona del Mar past Banyan Bay up to The Royal Palm and I noticed the beautiful white sand along the beach and my mind could not resist reminiscing the days when my dad took me to the beach to hunt for sea turtle nests. So here is the story of something we can’t do today and should not do because the sea turtle is a protected marine animal and poaching turtle eggs is illegal.

As you walk down the beach you will notice that it is continuously covered with sea weeds. Suddenly you will notice a small clearing in the sea weeds perhaps about 25 feet up the shore about eight feet in diameter. The sand looks freshly trampled if someone dug a hole and buried it. You can’t miss it; it is the only clean spot on the beach. Looks like a couple cleaned a spot to make love. Indeed, that is the love spot for that is where the female sea turtle has laid its eggs. You then take a sharp pointed object, a stick or spear and start piercing into the ground very carefully. When the spear or stick penetrates very easily, that is the exact spot where the turtle has laid her eggs.

Now, you start digging by hand to avoid breaking too many eggs. The hole is about twelve inches in diameter and after digging about two feet deep, you will come in contact with the first eggs about the size of a ping pong ball.

You will be able to excavate an average of about 150 eggs in each nest. The eggs are soft as the shell never hardens. Inside there is white albumen and a yellow yolk, just like chicken eggs, but the turtle egg, because it is game meat (or game egg we should say) is absolutely more delicious.

The egg hunter then covers the hole and spreads some seaweed over it. This is with the hope that nobody will notice that you have poached eggs and that another turtle might come and use the same spot to dig for another nest.

Twenty five years ago when you came into town, I mean in the village, and you announce that you found turtle eggs, you would be the envy of everyone. If you do that today, you would be subject to an arrest and a steep fine in court.

– by Angel Nuñez, Columnist

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