Tuesday, September 7, 2010


A semester in Mexico wouldn't be complete without a trip to the beach. Of course, my trip would have to be different from the other students who were heading down to Acapulco to party their brains out since it would involve my mother. In fact, I wasn't even a student, it was my mother who was the profé and had taken a group of students down to Morelia to study Spanish.
We really just wanted to hang out quietly, preferably in a hammock, near the water. So we chose the semi-sleepy town of Zihuantanejo. The afternoon we arrived we decided to skip visiting the town. Instead we made ourselves at home at our pension overlooking the Zihuantanejo Bay. With a half dozen terraces with several shade covered hammocks you really couldn't ask for much more.
As afternoon turned to dusk we decided it was time to head out for a bite to eat. At the pension owner's suggestion we headed down to thatched roof restaurant on the beach for our meal. It was off-season and the place was nearly deserted, but we were served a magnificent meal of red snapper by a very friendly staff. The setting couldn't be beat, and after our meal we sat listening to the waves calmly crash against the beach. Eventually, it was time to retire to our pension. We decided to walk the beach under the rays of a full moon.
We were less than 10 minutes into our journey, when a strange track appeared in the sand in front of us. It looked as though something heavy had been dragged from the water. Had it not been for a previous experience I probably would have continued walking, but instead I quickly began to scan the nearby sand dunes.  Sure enough, less than 30 feet from where we stood I spied a dark shape mechanically digging a whole in the sand. I grabbed my mother's arm and began to  repeatedly screech "Oh my God, you know what it is." My tone must have conveyed fear rather than excitement as she began to quickly pull away from me ready to bolt   down the beach.  I pulled her to a stop and informed her that we were about to witness a sea turtle laying her eggs.
Fortunately, I had observed a turtle laying eggs with a guide several years earlier, so I knew how important it was that our presence remain unobtrusive. Once we were sure that the turtle was completely in her hypnotic state of digging we approached her from behind.  For nearly an hour we watched her methodically remove sand from the hole. She then began to drop a dozen or so eggs into the hole. Had we had red cellophane to cover the light we would have had a better view of the actual eggs dropping; I knew that using an unfiltered light would interrupt the process. Once the egg laying was terminated the several hundred pound mother slowly began to refill the whole.  She then slowly made her way back to the water, where she swam away from eggs she would never see again.
As we slowly continued down the beach my mother and I couldn't help but feel that we had been blessed to witness this beautiful natural phenomena.

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