Ninety-seven Sea Turtles Hatch on Topsail Tonight
Tonight the sea turtle nest we have been sitting for the past five days hatched, and 97 little loggerheads dragged themselves—one at a time—into the Atlantic under the light of a strong moon that was in the exact right spot for them.
About 60 summer folks lined the sides of the trench leading from the nest to the beach to watch and count. I got to put my hall monitor skills to use, making sure the teenagers had their phones well out of sight and everyone was quiet while making sure the little dudes walked down the hallway and didn’t go AWOL as they left the nest. We nudged any stragglers back on course by pushing the sand a bit and directing a light for them.
Typically, it does not take five days for a nest to hatch once it sinks (meaning the sand around the nest shifts because the little guys are moving around and coming out of their shells under what could be two feet of sand). But this nest functioned at its own pace. The little guys came out one or two at a time as if they were on a catwalk displaying the most fashionable way to wear sand on your brand new sciutes and flippers.
Once they got to the bottom of the trench, they had to scoot across a bit of water and then back onto the sand. Dayle, the gentleman who discovered the nest 57 days ago and who had sat it for five days to my four, said they were like water bugs when they made their way across the water, and the little bath seemed to give them renewed energy to finish the walk down the beach and into the water.
We were all feeling pretty good when it was over and we were sure all 97 made it safely into the water. This world is a magical place
Please God, they will make it safely to the Gulf Stream and will grow to continue a 120 million-year-old story.
(For a taste of the Topsail turtle experience, try this video.)