Isla Mujeres Mystery ~ Lynda L. Lock
Heading out to watch the turtles at Punta Sur

Wine? Check.  Beer? Check.  Cooler? Check.  Wine glasses? Leanne is bringing. Check.  

Pick up Bob and Leanne at 6:00 in the evening. Check!   

An hour before sundown we headed to south point to catch the nature show – turtles making sweet love in the surf.  

We puttered along in the golf cart to the park at the end of the island, and strolled towards the Mayan ruins at the southern tip.  

Dozens of pairs of turtles in the surf.
From a higher vantage point we could see dozens of turtles paired off in the pounding surf, blissfully unaware of being spied upon.  (Is this where the idea for waterbeds came from?) 

Walking further down the staircase and along the cliffside pathway to sea level the individual pairs were more visible to us, but still a long way out in the surf. 

The mating season starts in early May with the arrival of mature turtles, ranging from fifteen-years to eighty-years old, at the south end of Isla Mujeres.   Turtle love, chuka-chuka in Mayan,appears to be a pretty cumbersome business – with the smaller male piggybacking on the larger female.  

Pounding waves not a problem for the turtles
For several weeks the female turtles alternate between mating in the water, and laying the eggs on land.  They can create as many as eight nests per season, cumbersomely digging a deep hole in the sand using just their hind flippers.  Their nests hold on average one hundred eggs, but can have as many as two hundred eggs.  The mating-nesting cycle repeats every two or four years depending on the species of turtle.

Three turtles at Punta Sur
The employees from the Turtle Farm have already been patrolling the sandy beaches late at night, retrieving 1000 eggs so far to be hatched in a safe environment, away from predators both human, and animal.  

Later in the summer the baby turtles will be released at sundown to prevent the predatory birds from scooping up the tasty treats.  

The babies will start the cycle all over again, returning to the same beach in about fifteen years to mate and lay eggs.

Enjoying the evening show

On the evening we were turtle watching a group of six local guys were enjoying an afternoon break, enjoying the show.  

They were sipping on cans of Coca Cola, while we enjoyed glasses of wine or bottles of cold beer.  

A well-equipped tour bus.
When we left south point, the four of us drove to Victor’s Casa Havana, on the east side of the island, situated on the seawall.  Great food!  

The only downside was we left Leanne’s cooler and wine glasses in the back of the golf cart.  

Yep, someone else is now the proud owner of her pretty blue goblets.  

Ah well, it was a fun evening all the same.

Interesting You-Tube video: turtles mating at the Punta Sur on Isla Mujeres, May 2012 – by Matt Swinden

Hasta Luego          

Lynda and Lawrie

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