On vacation this week (actually since July 31) at Emerald Isle, NC. We’ve been having a great time, but this is the first time we’ve been here in August in a while, and the first time we’ve really paid attention to the hatches of sea turtles. Over the many years we’ve come here, we’ve seen turtle nests, several each summer. However, we actually saw several turtles extracted from nests that had boiled (hatched) three nights previously, and we invested several hours sitting, waiting at two nests. We missed one, as it boiled several hours after we’d left the beach one evening.
Tonight, though, we got lucky! First, we saw 16 turtles dug out of an earlier nest. Cool! This was about 6:15PM. Then, we settled in for the evening watch. It’s really not bad to sit and wait, as the beach cools, and the surf pounds a few feet away. At about 9:30PM, seasoned volunteers began to see signs of impending hatching. This continued for the next 45 minutes, until in one push, the whole nest (count was 118 turtles) “boiled” up and headed down a causeway constructed by the volunteers. This path is needed to keep the turtles from fanning out on the beach and ensures that most will successfully reach the water.
I’ll do it again next year, but I’m glad I don’t have to sit up tomorrow; I’m losing my beauty sleep 😉