Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I love you gentlest of ways
who ripened us as we wrestled with you.

- Rainer Maria Rilke, Love Poems to God

Leatherback sea turtle nesting at dawn at Playa Grande, Costa Rica.
Copyright (c) 1999 Wendee Holtcamp

I love sea turtles. I just finished a piece on a controversial sea turtle project in India, and so thought I'd link to some of my past sea turtle pieces. The photo above is from when Discovery Channel sent me down to Costa Rica to report live for 2 weeks back in 1999. It was before the word "blog" was invented, but that's basically what it was.. It was an amazing experience. Though the whole thing is no longer on the Discovery Channel Online website, it's reprinted at the Wayback Machine website (minus images). Love & Death on Turtle Beach is a 2-week series so there are several entries. I linked to my favorite piece of the several I did, Turtles Troubles. It starts:

I am feeling restless in my skin tonight, out here under the stars, surf roaring furiously. I want to do cartwheels in the sand. I want to make sand angels. I want to talk about the meaning of life. I want to know why we as a society have gotten so far from the animals we love so deeply. But no one's talking in profundities tonight

The nesting ritual I just witnessed blew me away, so primeval yet so unifying. I feel at once distant from this massive beast with a quarter-ounce brain, yet so connected to her -- as a mother, as a child, as a fellow animal. My mind sings, "Where have all the turtles gone? ..."

J Nichols and a colleague take measurements on a sea turtle we caught in Magdalena Bay, Baja Mexico.
Copyright (c) 1998 Wendee Holtcamp

I also want to give a shout out to my friend J Nichols who wrote this incredibly moving OpEd for Good Times, Santa Cruz' Weekly newspaper, The Annhilation of Cynicism. It's reprinted at his blog (that's what I've linked to). I wrote an article about J's amazing work that he pioneered in Baja, Mexico working with fishermen and locals to get them to stop eating sea turtles and to help them conserve them instead. His non-judgmental and open-minded approach has made a minor miracle down there. I traveled down there and wrote this piece for Animals Magazine back in 1998, which is reprinted on my website. It Takes a Village. A couple snippets from J's OpEd:

The foundations of science, education, intellectual honesty, empathy, understanding, partnership, humility, service, reason, passion, conservation, cooperation, caring, equality, responsibility and community have regained their footing, which had slipped so far, so fast.

For this moment the cynicism—the angry hateful kind that has infested us in these times—has been annihilated. One notices its absence in the smiles, the tears and the hopeful songs that are pouring out all over the planet.

A couple years ago I also did a piece on Kemp's Ridley sea turtles, the world's rarest sea turtle species and one found in the Gulf of Mexico. I went to Corpus Christi with the kids and watched them release hatchlings which was really amazing. They're so tiny and adorable! I have a bunch of photos on the blog from the visit. And I wrote this article, Surf's Up for These Sea Turtles for Defenders Magazine. The sea turtle hatchling image on my website is from this trip!

So this morning I went to Zumba for the first time. Wow - I love it! My friend Trish (aka Trishalicious) teaches it and I've been meaning to go since I joined my gym about 4 months ago but had not made it until today. I used to do aerobics classes all the time but in the past several years have gotten away from them and more into running, yoga, pilates and just doing weights and the stepmill at the gym. So it kicked my butt! Zumba is almost a free form dance but you do follow the instructor's moves but anyway you just have to experience it! It's a blast. I love dance and body movement, it always makes me feel so alive. It reminds me of Nietzsche's Zarathustra in his final stage of his life where he decides that movement and body expression is one of the most important aspects of living and feeeling alive. I may have this wrong, I have not read all of Zarathustra but have studied some of it and it's on my book reading list! So forgive me if I got that wrong! Anyway there's a song in the Zumba class that says Zumbalicious and so now I know why Trish calls me Wendeelicious and herself Trishalicious! :)

Oh and how could I forget - I just booked a Christmas trip to visit my dad and other family and Jimmy, my high school sweetheart in Oregon and Washington. I am so excited!! Needless to say, I love Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. Though I've been away a long time it will always be my "home." I'm a blue state kinda gal!! (I was born in California... moved to Oregon... and then became a gypsy wandering soul after that).

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