Suicidal Turtle Tunnel: From the Bottom
Okay, yeah, this is a really weird one, but if you saw the previous gallery (which I recommend you do first), then you already know where this is going.  After all the exploring on this day, this was the one tunnel Dani and I spent all our time looking for.  As it turned out, the Church Tunnel wasn't related to this one (I had thought they were connected), so this wasn't actually explored until the very end of the day.


I'm actually standing on top of the tunnel right here.  You can see this part from the road, but I thought it was a lot smaller than it turned out to be.  As a result, I had skipped it in our earlier searches, but we were out of options at this point, so I checked it out.

This is a really odd design.  The grates on the sides allow water into the river from the canal, but they allow river water in as well.  Weird.


Here's a view of the other side of the levee... and a view of what nude canoeing looks like. 

Note the red neck.  This was caused from accidental exposure to country music in the '90s.

Again, the ceiling was a little low, but...


...once we were a short distance inside, the tunnel angled upward and out of the water. 

We only needed the canoe for less than 50' before we were able to park it and walk the remaining third of a mile to the Well at the end (Distance determined via GPS).

And, yes, Dani actually did this tunnel in sandals after tiring of the boots by this late hour.


Here's a baby duckling from the lake who took the plunge down the well.  It was difficult to say whether it was the fall that killed him or whether he just starved to death.

Here's one of a total of nine(!) turtles we found in this relatively short tunnel...

...and here's another.  Of the nine, three of them were dead. 

The major difference between the live and dead ones (besides having a pulse, of course) was that the three dead ones were significantly larger than the survivors.  Apparently, the smaller ones were able to withstand the fall.


Here's another very large turtle (the head is facing down).  Note the cracks in its shell.

And here's a surprise!  This appeared to be a baby egret (or crane?).  He didn't seem at all hurt by the fall, and he was able to hop around and try to fly away... not that his wings were mature enough to manage any aeronautics.

Before we left, Dani took my shirt and wrapped him up in it to keep him from either struggling so much he hurt himself or was able to get a good angle to get a bite at her.


This is the tunnel we entered from as viewed from the opposite side.  Note the turtle directly in front of Dani and another one (this one dead) a little closer to me, just left of the water and almost the same color at the concrete.

Here's a view from the opposite side.

Note that all of the green algae seen in the photos in the previous gallery was burned away by the dry summer heat.

This is as much as you can get in a frame without a parabolic lens, but this image gives you a sense of the depth of the well (or the drop, as the turtles refer to it).

Editorial: It wouldn't be quite as bad for the wildlife if the rim of the well was level with the water rather than angled toward the bottom of the well.  As a result, the turtles say, "Hey, let's sunbathe on the concrete over here."  Then they get on the edge and slip right in.


And here's another one of the consequences.

This was obviously a female with at least three eggs exposed by the fall.


By the time we exited the tunnel, it was almost completely dark, but I did get a really nice look at downtown from across the river.

Dani and I took a ride back over to the lake where we dropped off our little guy in the hopes he would find his family... and not just fall down the well again.

Additional details about this trip can be found in a more lengthy write-up posted on my Journal page.  Jump right to the account of this expedition here.

Alexplored 6/25/05.
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