Otterman speaks... (2003-2007)
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Otterman speaks...

Cycling, macintosh, natural history and life in Singapore - Archives

List of Categories : travel * museum * cycling * Singapore Naturalist * science * kakis * mangroves * movies * mac and the internet * meow * NUS * life in Singapore * lit * world *

Mon 23 Apr 2007

Catherine & Duke students are turtle tracking at Matura Bay, Trinidad

Category : travel

My turtle-tracking friend from North Carolina, Catherine McClellan, is supervising a bunch of lucky Duke Marine Lab students on a field course on sea turtle conservation and biology in Trinidad, off the coast of Venezuela.

I left in the tip of Florida in this map (top left) as a reference, in case there are some readers who are less than familiar with the geography of South America and the Caribbean.

Catherine has set up a blog for the class, called "Turtle Seeking in Trinidad". Ladybug and I are real happy about this develpoment, of course, and have already commented!

In her first post, Catherine describes their Earth Day arrival at Matura Bay. This appears to be a well known beach for leatherback turtles as Google returned several scientific, travel and conservation references.

After learning Matura was on the east coast of the island, Google Earth's Geographic Features turned up the location of Matura Bay in the north-east. Then I checked for a populated place in Falling Rain, which I searched for in Carol Spencer's very useful page for Herpnet.

Boy, is that beach large! Glad the turtles have a large piece of beach over there. Last year, when we were in the midst of the Year of the Turtle, the state of Terengganu, now famed for dramatically dwindling leatherback landings, replaced the turtle on its state flag with a clown fish!

Happpier news in Trinidad - Catherine has already seen turtle tracks in the late afternoon of their first day there. They had spent the day learning about Nature Seekers Incorporated (NSI) - villager tour guides who became an NGO. Matura beach is a protected area, is patrolled against poachers and turtle are tagged and nests monitored. See "Witnessing the Leatherback’s Ancient Ritual on the Shores of Trinidad." By Michael Tennesen. Dukenvironment Magazine, fall 2005.


Photo by Catherine McClellan

Although I feel confident I have a reasonable fix on her location, she'll probably be able to provide a GPS fix and I'll see how far off this was!

Current time in Port of Spain is GMT-4 hours = 12 hours behind us. So it's past midday there. Over here in Singapore though, its 12.51am and time for bed!

Posted at 4:51PM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | , .