I’m waiting for Hurley to come out of the water. It’s freezing in there today and he stays in so long. I watch him, the big iguana, he’s tough, but he’s old, slowing down. We all have to wait to warm up after the water. We stand still for quite a long while. Then we head to the rocks.
But today we have a problem.
Here comes Hurley now, one, two, three steps and stops. A slab of red seaweed is sticking out the side of his mouth. He stops chewing. One heavy bad-mood eye fixes itself on the visitors.
Two girls and three boys are here from the hotel. Their idea of fun is to use a lot of beach. It’s too much energy on this nesting ground. We have our eggs buried like a minefield, under a thin layer of sand. So people playing here is never good. More stress. An egg is going to crack. Just wait.
Day before yesterday a hawk must have been high up there, circling. Suddenly we heard this rushing sound, and here comes the hawk, headlong down like a bullet. Hits the sand like a bomb all monster wide wings and massive feet, pounding the nest sucking up three babies from smashed shells and he’s gone, woo-woo woo-woo with the wings, a well-fed, fearless climb. He came so fast, just terrifying.
The stress is wiping us out.
We swim to get the best food. People swim for no reason whatsoever. It’s not only the people that scare us — it’s the dogs, the cats and rats, scratching away the sand, crushing the baby shells, and eating our Galapagos children. At night, when the stars are bright and we look like shadows, the old iguanas tell their tales. Once this beach had ten thousand lizards. Now we are eight hundred. Every egg is a new baby, tiny and black and each one lost is forever.
The night gets blacker, the stars turn away, there is no moon. It begins to rain.
Also published on Medium.