Thursday, October 15, 2009

Bloggin ' at the Beach

Here we are at Navarre Beach, Fla. Spending two months..time is flying by, the weather is hot and humid, perfect for layin' on the beach under the pink umbrella and reading, nice ocean breeze makes you feel so good, long walks on the beach, shelling in the sugar white sand. We have seen dolphins, large loggerhead turtles. Navarre beach is on Santa Rosa Island, east of Pensacola, very quiet and laid back..just like we like it..beaches are empty this time of year. At night we like to walk the paved bike path. As we were walking after dark last night we saw a huge crowd at a public parking lot..we said" WOW large beach party"..but a local , who writes for the paper said "Turtle hatching tonight".. so we followed him over the dunes to the turtle nest..The turtle ladies..who check for nests each spring and keep tabs on them all summer were there, heads to the sand, listening for scratching sounds. they could be heard. The turtle ladies used red lenses over flashlights, turtles can't see red, so it would not bother them when they hatched, yet we would be able to see the turtles. This nest had been laid too close to the surf in spring, the nest was dug up and moved, 110 eggs) to the dune area. all Last night there were still 30 people there, some had left early thinking it was not going to happen, as we did, and finished our walk. stopped back by,still making scratching noise, no hatching we left for home.. before we got very far, John the newspaper writer drove up to us in his car and said, we have turtle head showing..he gave us a ride back to the site. Once they turtles started crawling out covered in sand,it looked like boiling water so much movement. they were picked up, counted and placed in an empty cooler.. 20 minutes later there were 80 babies.. They carried the cooler down close to the water,we all scrubbed any scent off our hands using damp beach sand, each of us got a hatching out of the cooler, and were told to place it on the sand a few feet from the surf so it could imprint on the sand..hopefully in 25 years when the females are mature to lay eggs some will come back. The tiny turtles, 1/2 the size of my palm were set on the sand..they quickly headed towards the surf..we were there to keep crabs and any birds looking for a late night snack away..we were all lined along the surf and told not to move, as the surf would push the turtles back towards shore, and we were there to make sure they were not pushed ashore, and NOT step on them. Don and I got to release 2 loggerhead hatch lings each. As we released them into the surf, we noticed glowing spots on the surf and sand.. It was fluorescent plankton. So cool.. tiny sparks coming and going, like stars on the water. There are still 30 eggs in the nest..and they placed a screen over it and will check it before daylight , and release any other turtles this morning.. BUT just in case..we will walk back down tonight to see if we can witness this again.. It was getting late, so we carried our walking shoes, and headed down the beach, walking in the surf (once the turtles were safely gone..)and all the way back to our condo, we saw glowing plankton. Stars were out, but no moon..soft sand and warm gulf water on our feet.nice way to end the perfect day.. Thanks John and Sue for letting us into the inner "turtle "circle ! I look forward to next weeks "beach" article in the paper !

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