08 January 2010

What's Suzie Doing?

Everybody was pretty sure Suzie was on the final leg of her journey, soon to return to TCI waters, but now she's in the Bahamas. She's traveled something in the range of 6000 km and visited many countries.

Suzie's Track

As she approached the southwest corner of Hispaniola in December, there was a lot of excitement that she might be home for Christmas (read about it in the news: http://www.tcweeklynews.com/link.asp?smenu=85&sdetail=1798&wpage=1). But she turned east instead of traveling between Haiti and Cuba directly to the Turks and Caicos. There was some fear for her safety in Haitian waters as the turtle fishery is quite large there. Social tensions bubbled to the surface as TCI Belongers warned of backlash towards Haitian expats living on South Caicos if she went missing in Haitian waters. We joked that it was going to incite an international incident and cause rioting on South. More than likely it was all talk, but it demonstrates the real interest local people have taken in her and the affection they have for her. I don't think anybody anticipated the level of awareness and local pride Suzie would generate, especially among people who routinely eat turtles.

The fisherman who caught Suzie (originally intending to make a meal out of her) is particularly proud, and he often jokes that if he had known that she'd become so famous, he would have demanded more money for her.

After heading east along the southern coast of Hispaniola, Suzie rounded the corner and picked up her pace. Keeping a close eye on her progress, we were pretty sure she had finally found her way and was headed directly back home. In fact, if she had continued that path and speed, she probably would have arrived today. She's currently off the coast of Great Inauga, Bahamas and, according the project webpage, the researchers are speculating that she might need to be down current of the TCI to detect them. Will she be home soon?

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