#12

February 5th, 2015

Last Wednesday night I finished my last shift as a Graduate Nurse. It’s been a year since I started nursing, and yet I feel like no time has passed at all.

But it has, and there’s new Baby Grads now. I even had the opportunity to speak with them about how to survive their first year a few weeks back. It was a surreal experience given that it only felt like yesterday that I was sitting right where they were looking back at another Grad who I just couldn’t wait to be someday. I soaked up the moment, and indulged in the feeling that I had achieved something great!

Pressing the button to call the lift to the third level of the hospital last Wednesday night after my last shift, made me smile. I almost did a little jump, but had to harness some self control, because well, I was still trying to be somewhat professional whilst grinning like a clown.

Now the next time I walk back into the hospital, I’ll be the real deal slotting right into the Registered Nurse section of the roster – no labels attached! And more excitingly, I’ll be returning home to my surgical family.

So I thought this deserved a little celebration – two weeks of celebrating in fact. Hello unused annual leave, I have missed you!

And with that, my Mr and I set off on a little road trip up north. With Angels and Airwaves blaring out the speakers, windows up and aircon on – because let’s be honest, Australian heat is not something to be reckoned with – we survived a four hour journey and finally arrived at our destination just before sunset.

#12 on my list is to Watch the Baby Turtles hatch, and we had arrived at one of the largest nesting beaches for Logerhead Turtles along the whole coast line.

We waited impatiently in line to get our names signed off before entering the amphitheatre where we would wait until the little baby turtles decided to brave the hatching experience.

The rangers there do their best to make sure each group gets to see a hatching, but there are never any guarantees and there was a lot more people prepared to spend Sunday night at the beach until 2am in the morning than I initially thought, so I was a little fearful we had come all this way for the baby turtles to decided ‘Eh, let’s do this whole hatching debacle next week’.

We hadn’t even moved in the line when Ranger Dave (My Mr and I called him Ranger Dave all night, and I’m entirely sure that wasn’t even his name, but it sounded better regardless so Ranger Dave he was christened) ran out onto the boardwalk and announced that there was some movement down at the beach spotted and that GROUP 1 would be called out to hurry down immediately.

When Ranger Dave called out my name I squealed and pumped my fist in the air – only a little bit excited, no big deal. My Mr smiled, grabbed my hand and laughed at the fact my quite obvious excitement had made others in the line laugh at my enthusiastic outburst brought on by simply having my name called out.

But I was GROUP 1 and we were going to see the Baby Turtles, and I proudly wore my group classification sticker as we waited for the rest of the group to assemble on the shore line.

It was a almost-full moon, missing a slice like a well made chocolate cake. So the beach was exceptionally well lit up, and the waves rolling in sparkled in the moonlight.

We walked along the beach for a few minutes arriving at a nest high on the dunes, and then watched as one by one, little baby turtles broke through the sand and scurried down towards the water.

Their sense of direction impeccable, they made a beeline for the ‘lowest horizon’, as we were informed by the ranger. And when you’re a baby turtle up on the sand dunes, it only makes sense that the shoreline was the lowest horizon. Apparently they also follow the light of the moon and know that wherever the moon is, the sea will also be. Clever little munchkins. I was enthralled – absolutely amazed at the beauty of the whole thing.

Tiny little turtles not even the size if my hand, heading out into the vast world on their own and having every ounce of confidence to do so. I think I could learn a thing or two from them!

And just as the waves washed the little ones out to sea, someone in the group spotted a rather large rock that seemed to be moving from the water (Ranger Dave had warned us about the moving rocks earlier). A little late to the laying party, was a Mumma Logerhead Turtle who was making her way up to the beach to lay her eggs. We let GROUP 2 get the inside scoop on Mum Turtle and watched from a distance, before heading back towards the amphitheatre.

We were only half way back when the lady walking next to me began to shout, pointing at the ground. Beneath our feet were 50 more baby turtles scurrying down towards the waters edge from a nest Ranger Dave didn’t even know about. These baby ninja turtles had the element of surprise down pat, and we had front row seats as they scurried between our feet out to sea.

I fell in love with the tiny creatures. So smart, and dedicated to the cause! I was truly amazed at the wonderment of it all, at the beauty of nature. I am hooked, and probably should have voted Greens in the election.

If you haven’t watched baby turtles hatch, then book yourself in! It was an experience so very worth every second. And if the dress I was wearing had pockets, I may have truly considered sneaking one home with me.

Shellshocked, and turtlely amazed. And not even apologetic for that sentence!

#12: Watch the baby turtles hatch and reach the ocean – check!

d x

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