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Myles' journey from Grand Cayman to Mexico

Myles has now been tracked at sea for 283 days. She lived on the border between Belize and Mexico during the fall, winter, and spring - but on May 23rd, she suddenly began swimming north into Mexico! Where is she going? And why?? The colors on her map indicate increasing sea surface temperature: could this be triggering Myles' movement? Double click the Myles' map to expand it, and then click "zoom map" at the top to see a close-up of her journey. On May 26, Myles reached Punta Gavilan, Mexico - an area known for its dense turtle grass beds (seagrasses are a favorite food for green turtles like Myles). Until this week, Myles made her home-away-from-home near the spectacular Barrier Reef and mangrove lagoons of Northern Belize. We don't expect to see Myles back in the Cayman Islands this summer - sea turtles do not nest every year, but we'll be tracking five NEW turtles from the Cayman Islands. Will they join Myles, Shelby, and Samia? Or will they find feeding grounds in other countries?? Watch SEATURTLE.ORG to find out where they go!

Background

"Myles," sponsored and named by the students at St. Ignatius High School, is the second adult female green turtle to have a satellite transmitter attached in the Cayman Islands. To purchase the transmitter and associated satellite time, St. Ignatius students organised a beach clean-up at Barkers National Park and held a successful bake sale, in addition to seeking and receiving generous sponsorship from Tortuga Rum Company, Rotary, Bank of Butterfield, and the Final Touch. As a result of the students' efforts, Myles was tagged with a KiwiSat 101 satellite transmitter when she was encountered on Seven Mile Beach on the night of August 21 2003.

Myles remained in the vicinity of Seven Mile Beach to nest several times after her release. Just before she began her migration, a Seven Mile Beach resident heard the unmistakable sound of pounds of sand being flung against leaves and bushes on the beach! He crept closer to an enormous shape in the Sea Grape shrubs and spotted Myles, topped by her new PTT! Using her powerful front flippers, Myles was digging a large body pit in the sand. When pit was complete, she excavated an egg chamber with her rear flippers and laid a clutch of over one hundred eggs, before covering and concealing her nest with mounds of sand. Concerned residents monitored the beach during the night, until Myles finished nesting and returned to the sea. The nests Myles laid at the beginning of the summer are now hatching, and the baby turtles (called hatchlings) are digging out of the sand at night and running down the beach to the sea.

Myles began her migration on 10 September 2003 and travelled over 700 kilometers across opean ocean to the coast of Central America. She now seems to be feeding on seagrass beds on the border between Belize and Mexico.

The information below, shows the whereabouts of the Cayman Islands turtles as of 26 September 2003. It is fascinating to watch them travel and check out their daily lives.

Shelby has travelled from Seven Mile Beach,
Shelby has travelled to Guatemala
Grand Cayman, to Guatemala

Check out where our turtles go!

Shelby tagged in Grand Cayman
Shelby tagged and about to start her journey
and about to start her journey.
The St Ignatius High School and the Olde family in Grand Cayman, sponsored the purchase of satellite transmitters and transmission time for three turtles.  Now it means that the journey of Samia (a loggerhead turtle), Shelby, and Myles (both green turtles) can be experienced by all by simply logging on to the host site seaturtle.org and then following the links to view satellite tracking programmes.

Myles has travelled from Seven Mile Beach,
Myles' Journey to Belize
Grand Cayman to Belize

Click on this link to visit the host site seaturtle.org

Samia has travelled from North Side,
Samia has travelled to Nicaragua
Grand Cayman to Nicaragua

Sea turtles can migrate thosuands of miles between nesting beaches and foraging grounds.  The use of satellite tracking can begin to unravel some of the mysteries of where sea turtles that nest on Cayman's beaches go and aid in efforts to protect these endangered species.  Not only does this technology provide crucial information on Cayman's sea trutles but it can also be included in a multitude of lessons in the classroom.  Turtle tracking information can be incorporated into lessons at any grade level.  To help you get started log on to the Caribbean Conservation Corporation website at http//www.cccturtle.org/eduform.htm for Sea Turtle Migration-Tracking and Coastal Habitatat Education Program:  An Educator's Guide.  This guide provides background information on sea turtles and includes ideas for classroom activities, lesson plans and worksheets for both primary and secondary levels.  This guide has been designed around sea turtles found in Florida, USA, but can easily be adapted to the four species found in the Cayman Islands:  the green turtle, loggerhead turtle, hawksbill turtle and the leatherback turtle.
 
All sea turtles that nest on Cayman's beaches are endangered.  The satellite transmitters provide curcial information to help protect these magnificent creatures.  However, these transmitters do have a limited time and transmissions will cease after approximtely 5 months.  It is threrefore crucial that during the 2004 nesting season, May to October, additional transmitters are available to continue this research.  As a way for students to take a personal interest in their country's endangered species and support sea turtle conservation the Cayman Islands' Department of Environment invites students, and others in the Community, to "adopt" a turtle, like St Ignatious High School and the Olde family have.  Transmitters and satellite time cost approximately CI$2,500.
 
This research cannot continue without the support of schools and others in the Community. Schools are encouraged to start fundraising from now in order to sponsor their own turtle next year!
 
(This information was provided by Ms Joni L Solomon, Research Officer, Department of Environment, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands.)

Shelby starts her journey from Seven Mile Beach,
Shelby starts her journey from Seven Mile Beach
Grand Cayman

Click on the link to visit the Caribbean Conservation Corporation website

Janice Blumenthal, DOE, checks to make sure
Janice Blumenthal, DOE, checks that Myles is ready
that Myles is tagged and ready for her journey.