Baby Sea Turtles Video Preview
One of the things I love about being on the water is all the amazing wildlife you frequently get to see, from fish to birds, from dolphins to jellyfish, there’s usually something nearby if you take the time to look. It’s part of putting yourself into and surrounding yourself with nature.
Here in Southwest Florida, our temporary base of operations, that wildlife seems to be multiplied tenfold, and you don’t really have to look for it – it usually finds you! Sailing, diving, hiking, and exploring – my favorite things to do – are absolutely conducive to seeing many different forms of wildlife.
While I have to admit I’m not a huge fan of the many reptiles that live in this part of the country, there is one thing I’ve absolutely grown to love: the sea turtle hatchlings you can see if you know when and where to look. From late June all the way through October you can see these adorable little guys leave their nest and make a bid for the open sea.
I came across my first sea turtle nest while out on a beach walk in late spring. There, in a sand dune about 25 yards from the surf, was a carefully staked-off little mound with a sign posted reading “Sea Turtle Nest – Do Not Disturb!” The more often I walked the beach in the following days, the more nests I found.
Occasionally I would see someone patrolling the beach on an ATV, stopping to check each nest, making notes, and ensuring the stakes and caution tape were all in good order. That someone was Maura, an amazing and dedicated county employee whose job is to help the local sea turtle population by ensuring each nest’s hatchlings make it out to sea.
The Sea Turtle Protection program is amazing in that it helps monitor and assist the sea turtle hatching process from start to finish.
There are a lot of rules in place to protect sea turtle hatchlings, and no one but an authorized person is allowed to touch them. Maura follows a very rigid in excavating hatched nests, on occasion finding little ones that were not able to make it out and crawl to the water. When she finds these, it’s a real treat to be able to see them up close.
As with all things in the local Government, funding for what Maura does is very tight. A number of efforts have been started by local residents who appreciate the work she is doing. Together, we’re working to ensure she has the funding needed for equipment to continue this absolute labor of love.