My wife Diane has been very active in the Emerald Isle Sea Turtle Program ever since we moved here in 1993. This month’s article is written by her and was her experience on the night of August 12, 2012.
While it’s fresh in my mind, I want to share one of the most memorable experiences of my life. Sunday evening at 5:00 PM. we started excavating three Loggerhead and one Green turtle nest. As I was walking up the beach to the 1st nest at 4:30 P.M., there were already about 50 people surrounding the trench in anticipation. At 5:00 P.M. with many more gathered, we successfully excavated and counted the egg shells and sent some hatchlings to the ocean.
The even more thrilling thing for me was witnessing the 100’s of turtle volunteers, residents and visitors walking up the beach to the next nest in family groups, residents, residents with grandchildren, pods of friends and visitors chatting away or some like myself walking alone taking in the once in a lifetime experience – the ocean, our pristine beach, a glorious summer evening and all those people walking in or near the surf. I was so proud of the total interest of all those gathered. Someone dubbed it a “turtle crawl”.
When excavating nest 13, the rare Green turtle nest, we found hatchlings that were able to make it to the ocean and a few were taken to the aquarium for a little more help. All got to see the difference in the two species of turtles. When we got to the next nest even more observers were waiting and so on to the nest after that.
I am so proud of our Emerald Isle Sea Turtle Program with Pam Minnick and Jim Craig as the leaders with lots of volunteers walking each morning looking for the mother turtle’s tracks, and picking up trash. Others come identify the nests found and then we trench when the nests are due to hatch and sit at the nest until it hatches. Then we excavate (dig up the nest) several days after the hatch to see if there are any remaining eggs or turtles. We tabulate all the data from the hatched nest. This year we have a record 30 nests so far in Emerald Isle.
I was thrilled to be a part of such a happening. What a show of true community spirit and interest by volunteers, residents and vacationers.