Saturday, May 13, 2006

A New Pastime: Turtle Watching

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For the last three nights environmentalists/conservationists, turtle watchers, Canadian scientists, forest rangers and curious on-lookers have been flocking to the black sand beaches, stretching from Cabana to Melville Hall, just outside my village, to see leatherback turtles come ashore to nest.

The female turtles come in, dig a whole in which to bury thousands and thousands of eggs and then return to the ocean, leaving the eggs to hatch and the young turtles to brave the elements on their own.

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There is much folklore about this natural phenomenon. There are those who point out the dark clouds in the sky, claiming that they are signs of the large amphibian coming ashore. They explain with conviction that when the clouds darken, the rain drizzles heavily and there is some lightning, it means that the creatures are near shore. They also claim that turtles prefer to lay their eggs in the black sands because the heat the sand provides high temperatures during the day to hatch the eggs. I am sure they have stories about the why the turtles come from the Atlantic waters as oppose to calmer Caribbean sea, but I guess I switched off after a while.

Whatever the truth about the natural occurrences that signal the turtles' arrival, people's interest has been heightened. Young and old come in the 100s to see for themselves. They wait long hours too, to get a glimpse of the creatures. Turtles coming on the sand to lay and bury their eggs has happened probably since the formation of the islands but for some strange reason people have taken keen interest in the natural wonder now.

The first night reports indicated that two turtles waited to come ashore until after most of the 100 or so on-lookers had left. The turtles seem to be spooked by the large numbers of people and the noise. The only lucky watchers were the watchers who were patient enough to wait.

For night two, even more people came but only one was seen and it came ashore to lay its eggs in the wee hours of the morning. On the third night I went to see too but in spite of the moonlit beach, several darkenings of the skies and drizzle, I still did not get lucky. The following morning I was told that indeed one had come in for nesting but it was about 2:00am in the morning when it made its appearance.

Check out Rosalie Sea Turtle Initiative (RosTI) the Dominica program for the protection and sustainable use of the sea turtles.

Read here

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

What?!

That is all I could say right after I heard the story I am about to relay.

The parents of some students of a secondary school are taking the school to court for punishing its entire fifth-form class after some pretty out of hand behavior by a few students. I think the group punishment was that there would be no graduation for the entire Class of 2006. Some parents have expressed their opposition to what they think is an unreasonable action by the school. It appears complaints to school authorities have gotten them no satisfaction and so they have threatened to take the school to court. Yup! The parents are suing the school!

Image hosting by PhotobucketBut the most amazing part of the story is not even this although it is pretty far-out. I wonder if anybody can guess what the original offense committed by the few was. Well the Roman Catholic affiliated school had organized a spiritual retreat for its most senior students. It is a tradition of sort among RC schools here. Anyways the retreat was on and it probably presented an opportunity for introspection by the majority of students. But some of the students of the all-girl school were not having any of that. Spiritual, smiritual...Introspec-wha?

Haahaaa…some girls had other ideas about what they should be doing for the weekend and they were eventually caught sharing among themselves a marijuana cake and porn magazines. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Bad girls! Hahahaha ...I had to laugh the first time I heard the story. But my initial reaction was "WHAT?!"

I mean can't imagine me or any of my peers doing that when we were fifth-formers, which seems like eons ago considering what the kids think they can get away with now. Maybe a page or so of soft porn but a whole flicking marijuana cake?! I mean what the hell was going through these kids’ minds?

But back to the suing parents....The school now is shamed in the public especially because they are an RC run school and they are upset about having the whole purpose of the retreat shot to hell and back. The Principal and school authority then hand down the harsh sentence of no graduation but not to the offending few, mind you. All fifth-formers get to share in the sentence!

And so now some parents, who feel that their children were not involved and had worked hard for graduation, are now fighting the school’s judgment in a court of law. As to whether things can be resolved amicably before it gets too far or whether the parents are just calling bluff is left to be seen. In my opinion, I think the parents may have some reason to gripe though. That group punishment thing is silly especially if you know the culprits and that no graduation is a big black mark on the students’ record if they did nothing wrong. It is case of Petra paying for Paula. Not Fair!