But first, a brief synopsis of midterms:
Anyway, so in celebration of 4, count em, FOUR exams in a week, one of which was the dreaded second path exam, and the other was the micro final, we did what any reasonable people would do: packed into a couple buses with these guys to drive 90 minutes north, eat some chicken, drink some beer, and see some freaking turtles!!! Woot!!!!
So we got to do this "usually only see it on the Discovery Channel" thing where we headed to the beach at night under close supervision to see the leatherback sea turtles lay eggs, AND in an unexpected bonus, get to see some of the previously laid hatchlings toddle their way toward the water.
Whoa... I mean, words cannot describe the level of awesome. They had 9 turtles on the beach when they called us from dinner at Bathway Beach (after we'd made the necessary stop at Food Fair before leaving the campus area to stockpile beer for the occasion), and after giving the "no flashes, no flashlights, no messing with the turtles, etc" talk and we followed our guide to one of the laying females, which I had previously known were large, but did not quite have an impression of HOW large. On the way, we saw two little itty bitty turtles making their way to the beach and had to be very careful in our steps because they warned us that there were enough hatchlings on the beach that they didn't want us to accidentally crush one.
So we get to what they consider to be a "small" female, as in having my first mistake it for a permanent rock structure, gathered in behind her, as she kicked out a sand hole, and got to stroke her shell as she laid the numerous eggs. Then, we were off to see two MORE turtles that were simultaneously covering their egg-laying holes with giant flipper kicks, one of which, the guide explained, was going to need to have her nest moved because it was too close to the water. We already knew we weren't supposed to go around to the front end of these massive animals because it disturbs their laying, so we were all huddling back like good tourists when both turtles turned around in their retreat back to the water, and the biggest one came right near us and made a grunting sound as we attempted not to make any sudden movements and I giggled giddily by the sheer awesomeness of the experience.
So it was just flat incredible. And then I prattled all the way home because I was so excited.