Loggerhead Sea Turtles


Thinking about how vast our universe is, all the while, gazing out into the night sky, I have often thought that I am but a speck of dust in the big scheme of things (see Spacing Out). Then, I witnessed the Loggerhead Sea Turtle nesting on the beach.

Her instincts were awe-inspiring

While Mr. Something and I visited friends on the eastern coast of Florida,we learned that the threatened Loggerhead Sea Turtle nested in the area, annually.

My ignorance was palpable.

I had no idea how big they were...up to 375 lbs (170 Kg), and that after reaching maturity of 17 years, they return to the same beach where they were hatched in order to nest and lay their eggs, and that the baby sea turtles have a 1% chance of surviving to sexual maturity.

Who knew?

So under the cloak of darkness, we venture out into the night - armed with a flashlight and camera, only to be amazed by the precision of Sea Turtle nesting habits...
Turtle tracks
Photo credit: www.seaworld.com
Turtle tracks are unmistakable.
The back flippers create deep grooves into the sand from the sea. 
Quietly, we follow the tracks to where mama builds her nest.

With her rear flippers, she scoops sand out repetitively until her nest is a uniform, bucket-shaped vessel approximately 1.5-2 ft deep. 
Mama sea turtle then begins laying  her eggs.
Sea Turtle Laying Eggs
Photo Credit- Laurie Penland / Sea Turtle Conservancy

Laying about 100 eggs (called a "clutch")
- we lost count at 75 -
she rhythmically covers her nest with sand.

The whole process takes about 45 minutes. 
It's a lot of work.

If you go out to watch the hatchlings leave their nests...do not use a flashlight. 
The baby turtles will become confused as they are searching for the light of the moon to guide them back into the ocean. 
Lord only knows, with a 1% survival rate, they can use all the help they can get.

And then, she returns to the sea until next year...
...and my thoughts of being but a speck of dust in our universe emerges once more...
and I like the feeling.

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