Sumoto River Update – Explosion of Turtles and Mullet

The view out of the bus window this morning was unusually interesting. A huge crane pontoon was working in conjunction with a tugboat to maneuver a trash barge (used to transport river silt dredged from the river bottom) next to it. The crane operater was very skilled and the men working under the huge yellow arm completely trusted him. He had a soft touch and you couldn’t even hear the metal scoop as it grabbed the side of the barge – why is heavy machinery so fascinating to me? I think in another life, I was a dumptruck driver who ran a freelance backhoe operation on weekends.
Anyway, the Sumoto River is once again teeming with mullet fry, something I haven’t seen since the hurricane caused the big flood a couple of years ago. Also, I counted seventeen turtles on the way to work. Seventeen! That’s probably more than I’ve seen in total over the past five years! The were mostly small ones, about the size of the palm of your hand. I like to think that these are offspring of the big daddy I released upstream a couple years ago.
One more interesting thing regarding the mullet: When the big ones come upriver this time of year, they start looking quite moldy and beat-up. I don’t know why this is, at first I thought they were spawning and dying off like salmon, but this is not the case. Maybe they are molting. In any case, the skin under their scales is white, and they start losing scales in large patches. This gives them the appearance of white koi! I’ve overheard a few people in the past few weeks talking about or pointing out the “schools of koi” in the river! This is funny as hell, especially since my little brother and I used to think the same thing and tried to catch them with koi bait – unsuccessfully – for months! It wasn’t until we saw them schooling in clearer water that we could tell the difference; they really do look like carp in the water. When viewed out of water, they look a lot different, their face is squared and they are have a distinctively prehistoric look to them.

One Reply to “Sumoto River Update – Explosion of Turtles and Mullet”

  1. Our turtle disappeared and we miss him, so it’s good to read about all the young’uns in Sumoto River! Take photos, please?

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