We took a last minute trip to the Redneck Riviera this weekend.
I didn’t know the Texas Gulf was called this until a social media friend pointed it out… and after I saw all the monster trucks driving down the beach with drunken and toothless young men yelling “Hey, Girl!” out their window.
Say what you will about the Texas Gulf, but the water is so warm you can’t tell when you’re actually peeing on yourself AND they have sea turtles.
SEA TURTLES FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!
We pulled up to Padre Island National Park to learn that sea turtles are common in the area and that biweekly the park releases babies back out into the wild. In fact, there is a 24-hour Hatchling Hotline you can call to see when they’re releasing the cute little babes to their
demise future. Just don’t get drunk and call the hotline expecting to interact with a human who actually cares about your love for baby sea turtles- it’s all automated.
After discovering that sea turtles are common in the area, we got super stoked to see one. That is until we read THE MOST TERRIFYING MICROMANAGERIAL PARK PAMPHLET EVER:
If you see a nesting mother, protect her from passing traffic, but REMAIN IN YOUR VEHICLE OR AT LEAST 20 FEET AWAY TO HER REAR UNTIL SHE HAS DUG HER NEST AND LAID A FEW EGGS. Then you may approach close enough to see if the turtle has a metal tag on her flipper. Note the number on the tag. Mark the nest by using material found nearby on the beach. DO NOT STICK OBJECTS IN THE SAN TO MARK THE NEST AS THIS CAN DAMAGE THE EGGS. If possible take photos and video. DO NOT TOUCH OR RESTRAIN THE MOTHER TURTLE. Report the sighting immediately to a sea turtle patroller.
and from the website:
Also, protect any sea turtle tracks you find. Place a noticeable object next to the tracks and note their exact location. Be sure to notice how far the tracks extend up the beach and mark where they terminate. However, do not pierce anything into the sand where the nest might be located. If you see hatchlings emerging from a previously undetected nest and crawling towards the water, protect them from predators and passing traffic, count them, photograph or videotape them, and allow them to enter the water. Place a distinctive object next to the place in the sand that they emerged from.
What if I can’t contain all the monster trucks on the island and one flies past me, running over the sea turtle and causing it to explode in a million pieces? What if while looking for something to mark the nest with, I accidentally fall on the egg nest due to building anxiety? What if I have a shitty camera phone and regret not buying the new iPhone? What if I can’t control myself from touching the sea turtle’s beautiful, shiny back?
WHAT IF I CAN’T PROTECT THE BABIES?!?
WHAT IF I CAN’T HANDLE THE PRESSURE?!?
We began praying that we wouldn’t see a sea turtle.
If we saw one, we were afraid we would get the rules for protecting sea turtles incorrect and restrain sea turtles from hurting the monster trucks and jump on the sea turtle’s backs for rides out to sea.
DAMN YOU, EARTHLINGS, FOR MAKING ANIMALS GO EXTINCT AND THUS CAUSING ANXIETY-FILLED INTERACTIONS WITH THEM!
Thanks for posting about sea turtles on Texas beaches! You can also find them swimming from our jetties. (It’s a much easier and less panic-inducing way to see them.) Here’s one I photographed just a couple days after your blog post. What an amazing state we live in!