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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

TODAY IS ...


MY BIRTHDAY!!! 


But first let's get to yesterday. We stayed pretty low-key. Tim and I hung out at camp during the day. The morning started with a tasty breakfast cooked outside on my electric frying pan. 

Tim spent most of the day prepping some fishing gear. I played with the girls on our beach. They are exhausted! Just a note on how extremely opposite these girls are:

Mattie chill'n watching the little waves hit the sand ...


And then there's Jett ... 


We had an early dinner of fried fish, crab cakes and corn on the cob. I swear we don't eat like this all the time. It's my birthday celebration all week and I'm TREATING MYSELF! 


After dinner and a thorough rinse of the dogs Tim and I headed down to the Fishing Museum at Sebastian Inlet State Park. We needed to get there by 9 PM for first a presentation on sea turtles then a scout on the beach to look for a female turtle laying her eggs. 


This time, opposed to nine years ago when we did this, seemed a little more organized and less rushed. Last time we waited in the museum until scouts found a turtle then we all jumped in our vehicles to a spot south of the Inlet, jumped out then proceeded to run down the beach to the turtle. 

This time after the presentation the scouts had just found a female but she was just about finished and the group would not make it in time.  So then we immediately drove to a beach crossover, walked over the dune, out onto the beach where we waited for word from the scouts. 

Since there is no guarantee we waited patiently. It didn't take long since it is height of egg laying season for them. Our group then began walking about a mile in the dark down the beach toward the location. 

Guessing a few folks should have prepared better. Tim and I had our Keen water shoes on and figured we would be walking in the ocean as the waves came ashore! Back to the story ...

As we walked south on the beach we came across not one but two other turtles coming onshore. The one we witnessed her do a false crawl and head back to sea. The other we let her be as she was just beginning her process ... it would be awhile. 

Once we arrived to our scouts the loggerhead turtle had just completed digging the body pit and had begun digging her egg chamber just below that. When turtles get to this stage they are committed to laying. Our ranger then laid his red light into the body pit as we then gathered close behind her to watch her lay all her eggs filling the egg chamber. As she finished laying we had to back off allowing her to finish covering and disguising her nest. This prevents her from stressing. Last time we were allowed to watch this phase. Guessing they have learned more since then. After she turned and crawled back into the dark ocean the ranger shinned his light on her. Wow! She was humungous! Since she was buried down in sand and it was dark we really couldn't tell her enormous size until now. They can reach 350 pounds!

The eggs will lay dormant for approximately 60 days. Then hatch! All of the turtle walks are done under strict supervision and permits through the state and the FWC. Only one in 500 turtles will survive. Sorry photography was prohibited due to camera lights and only the ranger and scouts were allowed to have red lights for us to see. 

My original plan was hoping to still be on the beach at midnight for my birthday but CORAL as she was named by the youngest in our group had other plans. We got back to the truck at 11:50 and back to the Airstream at midnight. No cake here but a Reese's Peanut-butter Cup and a beer to celebrate worked for me! 

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