Week Six: Happier than a Camel on Hump Day

It’s hard to wrap my head around the fact that I’ve been here a month. When I think of it in terms of work, that seems nearly impossible. It was just yesterday that I was working up my first nest, and trying to remember which key went in which lock. But, since it is half way through my stint here at Bon Secour NWR, it’s time for some reevaluation.

  • How can I improve?
  • Have I really been doing my best at tasks already given me?
  • Can I tap into my employers for any more tips, advice, stories and information?
  • Where can I find more opportunities?
  • Have I let routine dim the beauty this job allows me to see daily?

This week, as all the others, brought a mix of new challenges and old. Saturday I took a shower during lunch break. (Since we live within a hundred yards of the office, we eat at the bunkhouse.) That’s how dirty I was. So nasty that I sacrificed FOOD for a shower. That morning, we had closed and picked up the funnel trap on one of our units since we were mostly catching crabs. What that means is 60 yards of fencing that’s six inches in the ground being ripped up, rolled up and relocated to the pole shed. The trap has been there long enough for plants to grow roots through it and along it; it was going right down the middle of one plant. Throw in the fact that I was missing gloves and the swarming yellow flies, and it makes for a great occasion. Weirdly enough, I hopped back in the truck with energy I knew not the source of. That was the first hard manual work I’d done here. And the feeling it gave you, was enjoyable. It’s easy to forget the satisfaction of working with your hands.  I was dirty and tired, but I didn’t mind.


Heave ho.

Heave ho.

I also dealt with the not so glamorous part of our job this week. Dead turtle strandings. I was two for two, one on Monday and one on Tuesday. Both were …. ripe. I would’ve given anything for a gas mask at the time.

She makes dragging deceased turtles around look fun.

She makes dragging deceased turtles around look fun.


It’s rained a good bit the past few weeks so the herp traps have picked up some. We got a black racer. She had some spunk. I was already working out a good story for my snake bite scars in case she did get me.

We even tagged him. Fourth scale on the left from the subclava.

We even tagged her. Fourth scale on the left from the subclava.

I think I’ve finally found my place here in Gulf Shores. On my days off I went kayaking, rode my bike on the state park trails, worked on my tan, did a little fishing, read my book, ate some good food with good company. OH…and saw Brad Paisley in concert. I’d agree with Brad. It’s gonna be hard to beat this summer.

Needless to say, I did most of the work here.

Needless to say, I did most of the work here.

We're both actually pretty weird.




P.S. Turtle fact: it’s thought that turtles use chemoreception to navigate or locate through olfaction. Meaning, turtles can respond to chemicals recognized in the water through smell. And just by smelling it can regulate or release hormones and stuff in their body. Something like that. I read it in a book that described it in much more detail with much bigger words.  Personally, I can’t get past the fact they can smell underwater.

What we know is a point to what we do not know. My boy, Emerson.




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