Day 6 of our Summer Vacation
Our trip to the Fort Lauderdale airport to pick up our son and his family and shuttle them back to our rental condo in Boca Raton was uneventful. Thankfully. We picked them up at the curb in front of the baggage claim area where, in January of 2017, Esteban Santiago opened fire on travelers awaiting their luggage. Santiago was recently sentenced to 5 life sentences, plus 120 years.
Welcome to Fort Lauderdale!
Safely back in Boca Raton, we headed to our condo. Last Valentine’s Day, Nikolas Cruz opened fire inside Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida – a dozen miles from where we were staying.
As they walked from the parking lot to check out their new digs, our grandkids were apprehensive. Not about the history of shootings in the area. They are used to hearing gunfire back in Missouri. The difference is that when they hear gunfire near our home in rural Cole County, Mo., it’s just the neighbors taking target practice and not a reason to get scared.
What had them alarmed in Florida was the omnipresence of curly tailed lizards scurrying ahead of us to take refuge in the abundant beautiful green foliage along our path.
Though curly tail lizards may look threatening at first glance, the kids soon realized these lizards were way more scared of them than they were of the lizards.
Not so, the large iguana’s they would be introduced to later in the week.
After carry-out pizza for dinner, the kids were eager to explore. A walk on the beach was in order.
The route I envisioned would involve a pleasant one mile walk along the Atlantic from the beach in Boca Raton to the Deerfield Beach Fishing Pier near where we had spent the previous night. From there it was just a block to the frozen custard place for dessert. Then we’d walk back on a well-lit sidewalk rather than the beach where flashlights are discouraged because it might disturb the turtles.
As we left the wooden walkway that led from the street to the sand in front of our rental, something unusual caught my eye. Scattered along the beach were what appeared to be miniature crime scenes – small areas blocked from beach traffic by orange tape. We soon learned that each of these “crime scenes” was actually a protected turtle nest containing eggs fertilized following courtship.
That courtship might include multiple male turtles fighting over a female.
In some cases, I learned, all the turtles ended up with a prize.
Unlike humans, female turtles may mate with multiple males. Ok, that part is like humans. But wait – there’s more. According to the SEA TURTLE CONSERVANCY, “Females may mate with several males just prior to nesting season and store the sperm for several months. When she finally lays her eggs, they will have been fertilized by a variety of males.
A question came to my mind: Is this the kind of behavior to which I want my grandkids exposed?
They could not have cared less.
As the sun disappeared over the condos, my grandkids were far more interested in looking for seashells along the beach en route to the custard stand rather than learning the gritty details about how we get baby sea turtles.
Ninja Turtles may get all the publicity, but, as it turns out, these sea turtles see their fair share of action, too.