Huge blue-green waves washed onto the shore. Turtleís
silhouettes could be seen as the waves rose high into the air before
crashing onto the silvery sand. Thousands of huge sea turtles were coming
ashore to lay their eggs. They came out of the water and lumbered onto the
wet sand. Each turtle dug a deep hole with their flippers, laid their eggs
by the light of the moon, and then made their way back into the water.
Many weeks later the eggs begin to hatch and fight their way out of the
"Whoa! Itís sort of crowded in here," Shelly said.
Flippers and tiny heads were piled on top of each other, trying to escape.
"Hang on guys. Letís do this patiently." Nobody was listening. Each small
turtle wanted to be the first one out. Shelly had no choice but to wait
her turn as the others climbed on her head and back, pushing her deeper
into the hole. "Finally," she sighed and made her way out of the hole.
"This is quite nice," she smiled, looking around.
Tall palm trees swayed gently in the tropical trade
winds. The smell of plumeria filled the air. She looked down at the waves.
"Here I come," she said and rushed away from the safety of the hole
towards the ocean. Sheíd only gone a few feet when she saw a huge seagull
swoop down and carry one of her brothers away in its talons. "Whoa! What
just happened here? Whereís that bird taking my brother?" Another gull
swooped down and carried off another brother, and then a sister. Soon the
whole beach was covered with birds and they were attacking her family.
"Yikes! What is going on here? How am I supposed to get to the water when
every bird on the island is down here having a feast!" She hid behind a
rock and watched in horror as a hungry bird devoured nearly every one of
the other small sea turtles. She was relieved to see several make it to
the water. She stayed hidden all day long.
After the sun had set and the birds had flown away, she
crawled out from behind the rock. "Hey, what are you doing here?" Shelly
turned to see a grayish-blue crab with its pinching claws waving about in
the air. "Youíre supposed to be in the water, not hiding up here on the
sand," it said.
"Oh, hello. I had to hide or a seagull would have eaten
me," Shelly answered.
"Those birds are rather annoying at times. Iíve learned
when to stay under the sand to avoid them," the crab replied. "By the way,
my nameís Claws. Appropriate, wouldnít you say?" he giggled.
Shelly chuckled. "Hi, Claws. My nameís Shelly. I just
hatched this morning. Do the seagulls always eat the baby turtles?" she
"Every year. Thousands of turtles come here and lay
their eggs. A while later they hatch and the gulls appear by the millions,
or so it seems. Sad to say, only a handful of turtles ever make it to the
safety of the oceanís waves," Claws told her.
Come over to the tide pool and meet some of my other
friends. Perhaps we can help you. The turtle and crab walked over to the
shallow pool. "This hereís my friend, Barney. Heís a barnacle. He lives
here and doesnít get out much."
"Pleased to meet you," Barney said.
"Shelly just hatched this morning and found out the
hard way about the seagulls. Watched her whole family eaten. Sad
situation," Claws explained. "Thatís Perry, the periwinkle, Slouch, the
sea slug and Buff, the mussel. They all live in the tide pool too."
No sooner had he finished introducing Shelly to his
friends than they heard the squawk of a seagull. "Gotto go," Claws said
and darted into the tide pool. He pushed himself under and rock and hid.
The seagull landed on the sand near Shelly. "Ah, a late
night supper," it said. It let out a loud squawk and ran towards the
turtle. Shelly didnít know what to do. She started to run towards the sea.
The gull chased after her and was just about to gobble her down when
something amazing happened. Shelly flapped her flippers and flew into the
air. "What?" the gull said.
The animals in the tide pool all gulped. "Come and see
this," Barney called to Claws. He crept out from under the rock.
"What is that? Shellyís flying? Since when do sea
turtles fly?" he wondered, scratching his head with his biggest claw.
Shelly flew through the air. "I can fly," she laughed.
"Now that seagull canít get me!" She flapped her flippers and flew until
she was above the water. She landed softly on a wave and sunk down to the
depths of the blue-green sea. "Iím safe," she shouted and swam away.
Many years went by. Shelly grew into a huge sea turtle.
Whenever she found herself in danger, she had always been able to escape
by flying away. It came time for her to lay her eggs. She swam back to the
island where sheíd been born. She was tired by the time she got there. She
was washed onto the sand and slowly made her way onto the dryer part of
the beach. She laid her eggs in a deep hole and covered them with sand. "I
know whatís going to happen. I think Iíll come back in a few weeks." That
night Shelly went back to the sea and swam about as usual for many weeks.
When she thought it was time for her eggs to hatch, she did something that
most mother turtles donít do Ė she went back.
She lay on the sand and waited patiently for them to
hatch. One day she saw a tiny head poking out of the sand. Soon another
one popped out, and then another, and another. No sooner did this happen
when the seagulls came around. She could hear their squawks. "Children,
donít run to the sea. Climb on my back and Iíll take you there," she
whispered to her babies. All hundred of the baby sea turtles climbed onto
their motherís shell.
They could see hundreds of sea birds standing on the
sand, waiting for them. "Donít worry, my babies, Iíll get you to the ocean
safely. Iíll never let them get to you like they did to all my brothers
and sisters." Shelly flapped her flippers and flew above the sand,
carrying all the tiny turtles on her shell.
"Ha ha ha," shouted one of them, as they flew over the
"Canít get us now," another baby yelled.
Most of them stuck their tongues out at the angry
seagulls, which were busy squawking and searching for other turtles.
From that year on, Shelly did the same thing. Every one
of her babies made it safely to the sea. She let them go on their own
after that, but at least the seagulls didnít eat them.