Minimal Damage from Hurricane Sally. Ready for 9/26 Guests - IF Power comes back on!
We’re Sunny and Sandy – Twin Sea Turtles – born right here on the beach – close to Susan’s Sand Castles, in Gulf Shores (Ft. Morgan), AL. Using her flippers, our Momma dug a pit and laid almost 100 eggs in what’s called a clutch; and then covered her eggs up again with sand. After she camouflaged our nest, she headed back out to the Gulf waters.
The warm summer Gulf air helped to incubate us all summer and our nest was protected by the great volunteers at The Fort Morgan Sea Turtle Patrol. They staked off our nest with green tape; put up a yellow sign that warned people to stay away and recorded the date; covered the area with a metal grid; and then drove by every morning on a 4-wheeled motorcycle – making sure no predator had gotten into our nest.
The volunteers can always find sea turtle nests because when Momma sea turtles come ashore at night, they make very unique tracks in the sand. Sometimes, if beach-goers have left a lot of stuff on the beach overnight – the Mommas will get tangled up or choose to go back into the water instead of laying their eggs.
But our Momma has nested close to Ms. Susan’s houses before, and she knew that that was a safe place to be for her hatchlings!
Late one night – after most people were asleep – one of my siblings decided it was time and started breaking through his shell. Not to be outdone, all 100 of us tried to be the first one out of the nest. You should have seen the flurry of all of us breaking our shells and scurrying at once for the water.
In case you didn’t know, we find the water by following the moonlight. Sometimes we get confused though when some beach houses have the same color lights on - as the moon – inside or on their decks. That’s why beach houses are supposed to have orange light bulbs outside to keep us little hatchlings from going the wrong direction and getting lost. But that’s where the volunteers help us out again. They try to be at every nest when it’s time to hatch and you should hear them cheering “Go, Baby, Go!”, when they see us break free and head toward the water. They call us cute – and WE ARE!
We heard one of the volunteers say that sea turtles are an endangered species and that’s why they work so hard to make sure we survive. Did you know it’s actually against a Federal law to disturb a nest – even after the eggs hatch? But if we’re going the wrong direction, a trained volunteer, with gloves on, is allowed to redirect us towards the water. They even have strict rules about who can take and post pictures on the internet, so they will always say “All Sea Turtle footage obtained with the approval of The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services under conditions not harmful to this or other turtles.”
Being the adventurous-type, instead of heading to the water, we decided to stick around and become Ms. Susan’s Mascots, for her Sand Castles.
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