Tortuguitas in Puerto Lopez.

Before Abby left, I told her about one of my favorite volunteering opportunities, La Tortuga Feliz (The Happy Turtle), a sea turtle preserve in Costa Rica.  I smiled as I recalled the little babies hatching and making their way, flippers wildly moving, to the ocean for the first time.

Low and behold, I woke up Saturday morning and Maria, my hostess, excitedly told me there were sea turtles hatching across the street.  I yelped and ran after her to the beach.  Tortuguitas!

There are few things as magical in life as baby sea turtles.

Volunteers were on the beach already, counting the hatchlings, measuring the nest, and monitoring the youngings progress to the sea.  Locals came over too.

I talked to a volunteer and learned these particular babies were Hawksbill Sea Turtles and that they are critically endangered.  Critically endangered (according to wikipedia) means that the species is facing a high risk of extinction.  For example, the species population size has fallen 80% in the past ten years.  Poor tortuguitas!

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I followed one little guy from the nest area to the sea.  He had a bit of trouble and went in circles for a while.  I tried my best not to interfere and let him sort it out but my altruism overcame me and I picked the little thing up a couple times.  Not that that helped at all but yes, la tortuguita did eventually make it.


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