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A Quilt Editor’s Creaturely Vacation

28 Sep 2010

I’ve just returned from a three-day jaunt to Cancun and my recent holiday was exactly what I wanted: hours of poolside reading, swimming in the ocean, quiet evenings, and an added bonus: creaturely companions...beginning with this iguana that didn’t want to leave me alone.

Maybe it was the fact that I fed him bits of my plum, but we were fast friends, and he let me take a close-up shot--even smiling for the camera!

But the absolute highlight of my trip had to do with another species of amphibians. I noticed something that resembled a sandy graveyard eight stories below our hotel room…

But thanks to my high school Spanish, I realized this was a sanctuary for sea turtle eggs. As luck would have it, on our last morning there, the first batch of turtle eggs emerged from the sandy depths.

The marine biologist let us briefly hold these newly hatched creatures, and for little guys, those flipper-like legs were strong!

Hundreds of newly hatched sea turtles were herded into a temporary tank, awaiting nightfall to make their journey into the ocean, away from the watchful eyes of seagulls. They slept for hours in the tank (frankly, they looked like they were passed out after having one too many margaritas)! Just before the sun slipped past the horizon, however, they woke up and were eager to head to the ocean.

The marine biology crew said to come join them on the beach at 7:30 to release them into the water. That night John and I enjoyed our last dinner in Mexico, and I looked furtively at my watch every now and again as I didn’t want to miss the turtles.  When the time came, a small gathering of people met at surf’s edge; each of us handed a baby turtle to release into the ocean. The surf seemed so rough I didn’t know how this small creature would ever survive, and admit I felt a bittersweet pang releasing him into those crashing waves. (Call it my "Finding Nemo" moment!)

It was a great way to end a vacation, and speaking of creatures, I hope you don’t forget about our Feeling Pet-ty 2011 Quilting Arts Calendar Challenge. If a creature (be it wild or domestic) inspires you, I hope you’ll interpret in stitch and share with us!

Now back to planning our Quilting Arts 10th anniversary issue while nursing a mild sun burn...

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on 28 Sep 2010 4:33 PM

Oh how wonderful!  My ideal vacation just summed up in your post!  I swam with a sea turtle in Hawaii as I snorkled just off shore - she was just as curious about me as I was about her.  It was a miraculous moment I will never forget!

on 29 Sep 2010 6:15 AM

well, you sure packed a lot into a short trip.  What serendipitous timing!

lrond01 wrote
on 29 Sep 2010 7:17 PM

I just saw a documentary on the environment in Cuba and in order for turtle sancturaries to survive, they collect money from tourists that pay to release turtles into the sea.

It's a nice compromise because it keeps the natural habitats alive and people go back home with a better knowledge and a deeper attachment to nature. Here in Montreal, the Botanical garden organizes monarch butterfly releases in August. Each butterfly is numbered and you can check on the internet if your buttefly made it all the way down to South America.

It somehow gives us a sense of wanting to help these creatures reach their destination and do our share to help save the environment. They are small steps but isn't it how we usually reach our goals?

Well, I think I just found the inpiration to do a turtle and buttefly quilt... in reclycled fabric, of course!


on 29 Sep 2010 8:01 PM

OH how do I LOVE that little baby turtle photo!!  I am in love!!   : )


on 29 Sep 2010 11:06 PM

OMG, how cool is that!! Both of course!!

on 30 Sep 2010 6:48 PM

pokey!  that is just the coolest!  :)  what a wonderful restful adventure!  ;) xox

on 30 Sep 2010 9:02 PM

Wow! You are so lucky to have witnessed this! My extended family has vacationed at Bald Head Island, NC, for the past six years. They have a very active conservation plan for Loggerhead sea turtles, marking and watching nests, and doing "excavations" a few days after the nests hatch to make sure there are not any live hatchlings buried. But our timing has never been right, and my family has never been able to see a nest hatch. Love your iguana photos! I publicized the calendar challenge on my blog tonight. It should bring in lots of fun entries.

needlewings wrote
on 2 Oct 2010 9:25 AM

Love those lovely painted toenails. hee hee  I am sure they looked mighty tasty to the iguana too!  Love that you got to witness the baby turtles.  So cool!  Wished I could have soaked up the sun with you:)  

on 4 Oct 2010 2:06 PM

What a fantastic little get away! I think that lizard was posing for a painted portrait!

MellyT wrote
on 5 Oct 2010 7:19 AM

How incredible.