A group of 18 students from Skyline school in Seattle joined the turtle team at the start of April on an action packed 9-day Earthwatch expedition. Days were filled with turtle abundance surveys, baited remote underwater video (BRUV) deployments to assess predator distribution, and the capturing of turtles to collect morphometric data (measurements and weight). For some of the students, this trip was their first experience of snorkelling, travelling in boats and seeing wild turtles. Despite a few nervous faces at the start of the trip all the students quickly embraced this new experience and the rest of the time was filled with excited faces and (a lot of) happy singing!
The students had a great time exploring different habitats while looking for turtles. The most turtles counted in one day was 80 at Half Sound on the Atlantic side! In total over the 9 days the group counted 179 turtles and caught 18 turtles for morphometric data collection.
The Earthwatch students spent their final night with the turtle team having dinner on Sunset Beach. As the sun sank below the horizon, each student gave their favourite memory from the past 9 days. These ranged from watching some of their peers with their ‘interesting’ methods of getting into and out of the water from the boat, to singing on the van trips to study sites, and enjoying the very bumpy boat rides on windy days. However, there were two favourite memories that all the students could agree on; working hands-on with sea turtles, and the passion that all the researchers at CEI have for their research projects.
Thank you Skyline School for your enthusiasm and hard work during your Earthwatch expedition!