With a small cold front moving through Florida and temperatures dipping into the 50s, we’re adding on the layers. While not cold by most standards, temps in the 50s while driving on a windy, humid beach can bring on the shivers. We’ve had a great week despite the chill. Last night we had a perfectly clear sky that made the Milky Way visible and the SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket launch at around 1:30 gave us a great show. The rocket launch occurred as we watched Cocoa nest. Cocoa has some flipper issues that have resulted in the inability to dig. She is missing the majority of her right rear flipper and her left rear flipper does not move properly. We first encountered her as a new turtle on Monday night when she false crawled and we were surprised that she waited three days to return again. Usually turtles will return the next day. It’s possible that she has attempted to nest on adjacent beaches over the last few nights so we didn’t see her and without assistance, she’s unable to nest. Last night we were able to help her dig a successful egg chamber on her second attempt. In addition to Cocoa, we also saw Arlene, a turtle named for our volunteer Sandra’s mom. She’s been a very regular visitor to these beaches over the last few years. Samantha also made her 4th appearance of the year.
And in true sleep deprived fashion – we have a new turtle name for the record books! The first turtle of the night was a new girl nesting at the very northern end of our survey stretch. Chris found her on the first run of the night and started asking for name suggestions. Ultimately, inspired by the naming contest recently held for the new UK polar research vessel (for those not familiar – click here for the story), he landed on the silliest name he could think of – Turty McTurtface. We found out just a few hours after naming this turtle that the name Boaty McBoatface was, in fact, not chosen for the research vessel but we will have our very own Turty McTurtface here in Florida now!
This week has been fairly slow compared to last week. We’ve had 15 leatherbacks on the beach since Sunday – there were 23 in the same time last week. But we have the weekend ahead of us so we’re hoping it’s productive. If not, we still have a gorgeous sky to work under. Check out this shot we got last night of the rocket launch and Cocoa the leatherback.