Location: Anegada

The bright sun woke us up on this much anticipated morning of our second day on Anegada. As we gathered in the cockpit and began to ladle hot water into our dry oatmeal, we discussed our plans for the day ahead. Today was a day that most of us have been waiting for since this trip began: turtle tagging with Shannon through the Association of Reef Keepers (ARK). After we got our day packs ready and had our daily sunscreen party, we loaded into the dinghy and headed to the dock in front of the Anegada Reef Hotel. Once we got there, we met with Shannon and Rondell and started to load all of our materials into his van. We were on our way to turtle tag! We arrived at the turtle tagging location, where Shannon gave us a preview of what the day was going to look like. She told us that we would split into two groups. The first group would stay with her and go start the tagging process, and the second group would drive to a beach down the road in search of turtle nests. Julia, Sigi, Callie, Noah, Rosie, and I piled back into the van with James (Jimbo Jambo Robby Bobby), and we headed to the beach. We arrived at the abandoned beach that seemed to stretch on forever. In the distance, we saw what looked like seaweed popping out of the water, flopping above the surface in the wind. Upon approaching the so-called seaweed, we realized that we were looking at about 15 reef sharks. They were so close to us, and we watched them swim along the shore. We continued our walk and soon realized that this journey might be extremely long. Jimbo Jambo Robby Bobby was our leader, and he guided us along with this treacherous beach search. Jimbo Jambo is a Lone Ranger who likes to move to the beat of his own drum. His water polo and nursing skills came in clutch during our trip, and he advised us to stay hydrated and eat all of the pringles to make our 3 1/2 mile search bearable. Towards the end of our walk, we saw tracks on the beach that resembled those of a sea turtle. It was cool to know that turtles had recently made their nests. After Rondell drove us back, we ate lunch and switched with the first group that went turtling. The first group caught one turtle each (7), so our expectations were high that we would do the same. As we loaded onto two boats, we got to take back the turtles that the first group tagged, and we carefully released them. We started to motor around in the shallow water with our eyes peeled for turtles. I expected us to find turtles right away, but the captains use a method of searching, following, tiring out, and then catching the turtles. Once we saw the first turtle, we started following it. It was swimming away from the boats so fast, coming up to the surface for air when it was getting tired. After a while, it started to swim slower and slower, and Big Red told Sigi to get ready to catch it. He jumped in and just missed it, so he quickly got back in the boat so that we could catch up to it again. Sigi leaped into the water, skillfully picked up the turtle, and maneuvered it into the other boat. We continued to motor around, but we did not catch any more due to the rainstorms. We made our way back to the dock to Shannon, and we began the tagging process. Shannon talked us through what she was doing, and she collected all of the data she needed. The turtle was the heaviest of the day, weighing in at 13.9 kilograms. We packed up our things and then headed to the restaurant on the beach, where we ate a delicious dinner. We got to choose if we wanted to eat chicken, steak, veggies, fish, shrimp, or conch. We headed back to the boat after a long day, where we had a forum to talk about our values: shoutout Mom, Dad, Collin, Derek, and the rest of my family. I love you all and miss you so much.