Search for Sea Turtles: Bald Head Island, N.C.

My sister and I always have fun together.  It’s delightful.  But this year, we wanted to have fun, and wanted to cross something off our bucket lists.  Observing sea turtle hatchlings.  Witnessing a sea turtle “boil”.  So we went on the hunt.

Our first attempt was a nest excavation on Bald Head Island.  An excavation happens three days after the nest hatches.  Volunteers who have been specially trained empty the nest, count the hatched and unhatched eggs, and document any live/dead turtles.  Those who rent or own property on the island can adopt a nest and monitor it, hoping to catch the boil, and also getting to be involved in the excavation.

The problem was logistics.  The island properties were sold out (and very expensive) and the excavation was at 7 am.  So…my sister and I got up at 3:45 am to drive over and catch the contractor’s ferry at 5:30.  Then I walked around to the beach access point #13 since the tram doesn’t start running til 7, and the golf cart rental didn’t open until 8:30!  My sister caught a ride, which was nice!

I did get a lovely early dawn walk that took about 30 minutes.

And I was rewarded with two foxes frolicking on the beach.

Some areas line the runway with plastic.  This is to keep the baby turtles from getting distracted and pulled off course by lights from human sources.  The moonlight reflecting off the ocean is their beacon.

Eggs are leathery and sort of flexible, otherwise the egg would burst when it drops from its mother’s body into the hole.  Fortunately for the turtles, all 86 eggs in this nest hatched.  Unfortunately for us and the others who had gathered on the beach, they had all scurried into the sea before we got there.

Oh well…we rented a golf cart and toured the island.  Photos for another post.  I also donated a few of the sea turtle drawings and paintings you have seen on this blog for the Turtle Patrol to use.  On to try to find turtles!


~ by collidescopes on August 11, 2012.

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