I had a very amazing adventure yesterday, at the “mighty” Tennessee River. I mentioned yesterday that we were going to set up some basking traps, and soon after running some errands, Dr. Wilson and his graduate student, Robert, started preparing for the trip — they loaded the 22-foot boat onto the trailer, and then hooked the trailer onto the truck, and I helped load some of the 15 basking traps onto the boat.
A basking trap is basically a rectangular enclosure attached with 2 covers made from aluminum that serve as the “ladder” on which the turtles will climb if they wanted to bask. Once the turtle arrives at the top of its climb, the aluminum cover will tilt and the turtle will fall into the rectangular enclosure (see images above and below).
We spent 3 hours deploying the basking traps in the river, and my, I was amazed at the sheer size of the river! The Tennessee River is so many times wider and longer than the Setiu River that I am now quite familiar with. In fact, the Tennessee River is so huge that I thought we were in the Gulf of Mexico already! It was very windy, and very cold, and the water was very choppy. It felt like the last time I was in the sea in a small boat, deploying fish traps to trap fish larvae!
Dr. Wilson said that we will be deploying some baited traps on Monday, and that we will be checking out the traps in the coming days and week, and it would be interesting to see the species and number of turtles that are trapped in the basking traps, baited or not.
But before that, we’re going to a “spring party” at a UTC Professor’s house tomorrow night, and I have no idea what to wear. I mean, casual or formal? Traditional? Simple?