Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Are you really surprised readers that I would start this years 100 days~100 paintings with a turtle?Turtles really are my favorites to paint, now more than ever. This year I joined the "Share the Beach" Program for the Gulf Coast. This group of people walks the beaches early in the mornings to see if there has been any activity from our turtles. I have been several times on these early morning walks, seeing the sun rise over the condos and starting the day. It is a quiet time, with the sun starting to warm the air and the people rising out of their beds looking for shells on the wrack line. I have not found a nest as of yet, but am hoping to see at least one before the season is over. Several have been found already with almost all having to be moved above the tide line. My "bucket list" goal is to see a "boil" when the baby turtles come out of the nest after hatching!
False crawls, false "nests" (complete with chicken eggs!), and lots of flotsam all find their way to the beaches of the Gulf Coast that we all call home. Part of "Share the Beach" crew duty is to pick up trash on the way back to the starting point. I have found lots of bits of plastic, plastic bags, cigarette butts, and yards of fishing line. All of these things are deadly to the turtles that live in the water. Plastic bags look like jellyfish, bits of plastic look like edible goodies, and fishing lines form deadly cinches that have removed flippers, cut into necks, swallowed into stomachs, causing turtles to float on the surface where they can get hit by boats. If a turtle is hit by a boat and survives, it may get something called "bubble butt" syndrome. This malady causes the turtle to float on the surface of the water with no hope of diving to feed or protect itself. The bubble is actually trapped air under the surface of the carpace that cannot be removed. These turtles will die in the wild. The Turtle hospital in Marathon Florida has several of these permanent residents in their main pool. The only cure is to glue weights to the shell, giving them the ability to dive somewhat normally. The problem with the weights is that eventually they fall off, causing the same problem again. For this reason, the "bubble butt" turtles can never leave the hospital, becoming ambassadors for their fellow shell bearers.
That being said, it is turtle nesting season again! Please fill in your holes after you build your sand castles, (a turtle can get lost in one of these as well as someone falling into one on a dark night!) I have found one hole big enough to seriously hurt someone that was about 5 foot deep and at least 7 feet wide with a tunnel as well!
"New Friend" 12 x 12 Acrylic on canvas Day 1 of the 100 days~100 paintings!