Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Sea Turtle Action

So, I am really terrible about organizing my pictures. As I was going through them recently I came across a lot of pictures and stories I never told of our vacation to Florida in 2013.

We stayed for two weeks at my parents beach home in St. Augustine, FL. If you haven't been to St. Augustine and you live within a days drive-GO! Seriously, I don't know what you are waiting for....aside from the beach there is so much to do there. It is a fantastic place, and I basically grew up there and never get sick of it! Anyway, back to the turtles....

This was a fantastic trip and there was a lot of late season sea turtle action happening. Usually by late July all the turtles have laid their eggs and a lot of hatching is happening, but this time around we saw tons of tracks....

One other amazing thing that brother and I went for a very late night walk around midnight, neither of us could sleep and needed some quality sibling time I suppose so thought a walk and a drink would do us some good. Well, we happened to get lucky and actually saw a turtle who had just laid her eggs and was covering the hole, then made her way back to the ocean. We of course watched from afar as she made her way back to the ocean but it was pretty amazing, something most people never get to see.

We didn't get pictures of her because 1) we didn't have our phones and 2) we would have needed a flash and the turtles are very sensitive to light. The positioning of the moon guides them to and from the ocean, so any lights on shore and things like flashlights and camera flashes can disturb this, so if you ever see one just know your memories are good enough, let them alone and quietly, from afar watch them. Also, never ever touch them or the eggs.

Another interesting thing about the turtle we saw is she laid her nest really far down on the shore, super close to the ocean. There may have been something wrong with her as we've never seen a nest that close to the ocean, even the "turtle patrol" woman said it is very unusual for that to happen.

This was after the "turtle patrol" had come by, they saw the nest and were worried the eggs would get crushed by passers by or be endangered by the incoming tide, plus it was right in the middle of the driving path so they moved the nest, higher up.

This is the nest after they moved it.

Crabs can sometimes dig down and will eat on the eggs, that hole indicates something most likely got down there. :( There are several other predators that can snack on the eggs so these little guys have a lot to go through to try and survive.

Here are some more fun next pictures:
We wanted a picture with the nest, this was a good as it was going to get ;)

You can see from this picture how close that next we saw was to the ocean, I was standing at the shoreline....

Once the "turtle patrol" finds a nest they mark it with pink ribbon, then as the gestational period goes on they then mark it with different colored ribbons and will add cones around it as it gets closer to hatching to keep people away. The patrol will come down and check on the nests and make sure all the turtles made it, if there are some stuck they will help un-stick them or they will dispose of them if they didn't make it,. They also use this I believe to sort of track the turtle population.

This sign goes on all nests because believe it or not people are dumb enough to disturb these nests and steal eggs...

 Nests at beautiful!

If you want to read a little more on Florida sea turtles check out these websites:

This was one of the greatest experiences of my life and I was so excited to see it with my brother because I hadn't seen him in nearly 4 years! So, the fact that we, like idiots, went on a late night walk with no flashlights during a full moon and got so lucky was fantastic! Spontaneity has its perks! 

Have you ever seen a turtle lay eggs or seen some hatch?

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