If it’s not a crime that little baby sea turtles have a hard time making it from the nest to the surf, it ought to be. A handful of islanders on the Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island have dedicated themselves to righting this wrong by braving mornings, like this one, thick with mosquitoes to save these little guys and gals.
While most mama turtles deposit 100 eggs or more in their nests, some of the eggs never hatch. Many of her babies do make it out of the nest on their own during full moon nights, but some do not. Between the two islands, it’s been a banner year for turtle nests, so our superheros have been very busy monitoring all 67 nests and making sure these tiny creatures, who can grow up to weigh over 200 pounds have a fighting chance.
This morning at the 30th Street marker on the beach, about a half-dozen super heroes dressed in shorts and T-shirts and flip-flops met to help the hatchlings. It was evident from the tiny turtle tracks that many of the hatchlings had indeed made it into the surf last night. If you look carefully, you can see their turtle toenail marks in the sand in the picture below. Ironically enough, compared to the little guy released this morning, the tracks head straight for the water.
I wonder what those tiny guys left behind are thinking when they’re unearthed? When picked up out of the nest and set down on the beach? This little one just went around in circles and when it did act like it was headed somewhere, it tried to go away from the water. So the volunteer stood there patiently as the turtle circled, waiting for the tiny creature’s compass to kick in and head for the water. But, like most of us, the hatchling needed a little help to get where he was going.
Another victory for the Island Turtle Team! To learn more about the Island Turtle Team, go to http://www.bergwerfgraphics.com/nest2008.htm.