This is the part where we feel like kids waiting for a birthday. When will the turtles nest? Today? Tomorrow? Three weeks from now? Our team is on alert, counting the days and hours between satellite uploads, texting and calling each other late into the night when the data comes in.
And all the while, Red Rockette is behaving in classic leatherback fashion, swimming around the nesting area, probably mating.
To be honest, it’s a bit frustrating.
Check out this map.
There she is, super close to the beach on March 14. Then, she bounces out of the Gulf of Uraba a little on the morning of the 16th. We wonder all that day if she’s heading somewhere else, when she swims back closer to shore again that evening. We wait. Our colleagues on the nesting beaches—with whom we are in constant email contact—are prepared for her possible arrival.
Then when we hear from her again on March 18, she’s off again, away from the beach.
“This is completely normal behaviour,” says leatherback scientist Dr. Mike James.
Normal. And frustrating. And exciting.
Because in this world, where we have instant access to so many answers, there is something marvelous about being held in complete suspense.