Monday, July 19, 2010

Shuswap Lakes, British Columbia - Part 1

Have been on me holibobs!

We spent a week in a holiday home in a tiny lakeside bay not far from Salmon Arm in British Columbia, which is a small town (pop. 16,000) set on the banks of the Shuswap Lake(s). I say Lake(s) because there are about 1000km of shorelines among several inter-connected lakes. They are situated north of Kelowna, and between Kamloops and Revelstoke - and truly beautiful it is too. But all those bloody tourists, eh?!

I'm sure I could bore you rigid with 200 photos of my kids in various poses in, on or about to leap into the water, but thought I'd share this day out with you instead.

See - isn't it just so gorgeous? I've got first dibs on that hidden home in the centre.

So one afternoon, we took a wee detour up a twisty road to White Lake. This is a small individual wetlands area. To be honest, I just saw another patch of water marked on the map and wanted to go and be nosey. I do that a lot. As we drove a couple of miles, passing a few residences, we kept seeing home-made signs by each gateway, telling motorists to slow down .... demanding it, in fact.

and this was why.


Other than the "Why did the turtle cross the road?" jokes, I had nightmares of crunching tyres in case we inadvertently caused a massacre of hard-shelled creatures, valiantly making their way to the waters edge.

So we drove at a snails pace, keeping our beady eyes open for any scurrying turtles, but sadly, we had no such luck in spying the Western Painted Turtle.

So I cheat now, and offer you an internet-provided image from the mri.usd.edu website (thank you). Kinda cute in a wrinkled, leathery sorta way - perhaps the Mick Jagger of the Turtle world.

But look at this ....
... amazing colouring - now that is some fab tummy art. That could keep a tattooist busy for hours.

OK - here's the science part - Western Painted turtles are the most widespread turtles found across North America and grow between 4 and 10 inches long. Favourite habitats are slow moving waters with muddy bottoms (say nothing), and my question was how on earth do they survive the winter here?

Apparently, they put on weight and fatten up for the winter - I can identify with that - then burrow down into the mud and hibernate. They mate from May to July, and lay 1 to 2 clutches of 5 to 15 eggs per year. Once hatched, baby turtles are very vulnerable to predators (or fast moving vehicles); however there is a good chance they will survive if they reach water. Hence widespread signage to the dumb interlopers.

Male painted turtles reach maturity in 2 to 5 years and the females in 4 to 8 years, and may have an overall lifespan of more than 20 years. Phew! There will be a test later.

The turtles were probably having a shy day - sick and tired of summer tourists staring at them, no doubt...
and another thing that was in hiding that day was another geocache. Couldn't find this one at all - boo, hiss.

But I have just fallen in love with this part of the country.

5 comments:

  1. Moving to BC then ;)
    It looks a lovely place

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  2. If you move to beautiful BC I am going to be so jealous and I will never talk to you again...unless you invite me to visit with you in said beautiful BC! So there!

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  3. Looks gorgeous! Pleased you had a good holiday..xx

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  4. Oooooooooo... I love the Shuswap Lakes! What a great place for a holiday, lucky you!

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  5. It's sucha beautiful place, and those turtles are really cool!!
    I recently had my first geocache adventure. Talk about addictive! I need about 6 more hours in my day!

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