Tartaruga!!

Title for this entry is the portuguese word for ‘turtle’. Technically, I am cheating with this particular picture, because it was actually taken at the new Georgia Aquarium when Gary and I visited it last Christmas. Shameless plug: if you’re in Atlanta,you should go. They had Beluga whales, twowhale sharks which they had trained to eat plankton out of nets in order to feed them, as well as a myriad of other rare marine critters.

The relation to Brasil?? They call the little reflective bumpy things in the road ‘tartarugas’ here because, well… I dunno, they’re kinda like turtle shells, Ok? Use your imagination!!

No really, I’m just messing with you all. The real reason is that I have seen real live turtles here in Brasil, but not in a particularly photogenic setting: I was standing on the beach, and they were briefly surfacing periodically as they were eating something about 10 meters off shore.

It all started with Steve saying, “I saw a turtle!!”, a statement we all disbelieved at first because, well,… it was Steve saying it. Steve is a joker; if you turn your head because of something Steve says, chances are when you turn back, “I don’t see any turtle…” there will likely as not be a wet finger waiting for your returning ear, or something along those lines.

At first I didn’t see the turtle, but in Steve’s defense, they don’t have to surface for half an hour if they don’t feel like it, so it took a few minutes before anyone could corroborate his claim, but sure enough, there was not just one, but several, turtles. We walked down to the beach and they kept on with their feeding, patently ignoring us. The server for our table said that they were there “todos dias” (every day) and I saw at least 4 individual turtles, of varying sizes, poking their heads up every 5 – 10 minutes or so.

The point of the story really is that this happened on Ilhabela, an island that is so underdeveloped, it’s only road only goes along 1/4 of its perimeter. To get to the restaurants and bars on the other side of the island you have to either take a 4 x4 through the jungle interior or a boat around it. And yet you can still get decent ice cream on the island.

How cool is that? We will have to go back for some SCUBA diving. I will post some Ilhabela pics as soon as I get them in the computer.

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