Bald Head Island Day 4 (Sea Turtles!!)

While today included all of the regular beach things (i.e., going to the beach, swimming in the ocean, tanning, etc.), I was witness to something truly extraordinary this evening.  I watched a sea turtle nest excavation.  The nest officially hatched 3 nights ago, which was considerably earlier than they had initially predicted, for August 24.  This evening, they had two people dig out the nest and retrieve any remaining hatchlings and survivors that could not crawl out on their own.  There were 18 turtles left in the nest alive.  Daniel suggested that a major obstacle for them came two nights ago, when it rained heavily and packed down the sand, making it difficult for them to crawl out on their own.  This seems like a plausible explanation, since last year when we watched a nest excavation there were probably no more than 10 (probably fewer) that made it out alive.

Digging out the nest, including unhatched eggs and dead turtles.

A bucket full of baby sea turtles!

They are so cute.

These are both the hatched and unhatched eggs. They keep track of all of the hatched and unhatched eggs in all of the nests on Bald Head for statistical analyses.

Right before the turtles are released into the ocean, everyone is given one last look at them.

The short crawl to the ocean.

If you think about it, these guys have it a little bit easier. The people at Turtle Central carry them most of the way, so there is a smaller chance they will be eaten by predators on the way to the water.


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