If you’ve been around our resort lately, you may or may not have noticed some unusual beach go-ers. They pack their cars up with snacks and beach chairs and head off to the ocean side, even getting matching shirts for the occasion! It’s easy to spot their bright blue shirts, especially when they are on their way to the beach after most have long gone. These beach bums aren’t coming to ride the surf or soak up the sun, they have a much more important reason…
“Sixty three days ago a mother loggerhead deposited 115 eggs on the beach in Duck. One egg was taken for DNA testing and the remaining 114 were relocated to higher ground.This was nest #8 of our nesting season. We began nightly monitoring of the nest on day 55 of incubation. Thus began the mission of the Duck Dynasty Divas and Dilley (DDD&D). On day 60 in a torrential rain, we checked for a change in the sand every 15 minutes until midnight. as Dilley informed us at midnight the sand was “flat as a door nail.” It really was flat as a pancake. At 645 the next morning there was a huge sink hole with five exit cavities. Due to the rain there were no turtle footprints. That night we escorted one little hatchling through the crab gauntlet to the ocean. Two more hatchlings emerged after we left. Without an escort, they quickly succumbed to crabs. That evening we again escorted one little hatchling to the sea.
We excavated the nest on day sixty-three. What an awesome experience. We found 112 empty egg shells, one undeveloped egg and one pipped dead hatchling. The best part of the night was watching 22 extremely energetic hatchlings race to the ocean on their way to the Gulf Stream. Obviously eighty- six turtles snuck out under our radar before dawn on day 61.
What an awesome team and an awesome nest. Thank you so very much DDD&D (Louise, Kaye Al, Kathy, Sara, Jim, Mary Ann, Joe and Sarah). A special thanks to the Sanderling Resort and our guest photographer Robert Young.”
These unsung heros spend immense amounts of their time and effort to facilitate the safe hatching and relocation to the Gulf Stream. The Sea Turtle Volunteers dedication is evident (so many days of just watching??) to their cause, and the gift of witnessing such an awesome event as an onlooker is so often unexpected. Some of our guests at Sanderling happened to be able to partake in this witnessing this hatching on the beach off of our resort, and here’s what they said:
“It is not chance that brings us back to the Sanderling for the fourth time in sixteen months. It is chance ,however, that we arrived in time to witness the hatching of loggerhead turtles right on the Sanderling beach. A group of guests and staff were on hand to see twenty-two baby loggerheads rush to the surf. Sanderling vacations are alway memorable, this one is unforgettable.” – Bob Young
“We enjoy the Sanderling so much that we tend to visit twice a year from Pittsburgh. There is always something new. This year was meeting the knowledgeable and dedicated volunteers from N.E.S.T as they monitored the nearby nest. We saw a few turtles hatch and were on-hand for the final dig on the nest. It was fascinating and a great vacation memory.” – Merrilynn Young
Thank you so much for taking care of our baby turtles! We can’t wait until another mama decides to belly up to our beaches and allow us the joy of seeing this monumental occasion again! …And how CUTE are these little guys!??