Yesterday morning while we were spending a few hours on the beach prior to heading home, we got incredibly luckily and got to see thecutestlittlethingever.
Normally sea turtle eggs (which are laid in the sand dunes) hatch in the middle of the night and then the little guys crawl from the nest to the brightest spot on the horizon, which is normally the sea, due to the light of the stars and moon reflecting off the horizon (in fact, many beachfront communities have a curfew on lights so that the lights on the houses don’t confuse the little guys).
Apparently yesterday there was one little guy who’d gotten stuck trying to climb over a root and hadn’t made it out to the ocean before morning. The volunteers left him alone as long as possible, since they’d rather not interfere, but eventually it got hot enough and late enough in the morning that they decided a little assistance was in order.
I was out swimming (and Jeff was “sunning,” having actually lowered the umbrella under which he’d hidden most of the weekend!), when Mary Jean hollered that I needed to come over and see. So I slogged back to shore (somehow the last 20 feet of getting to the beach are always the hardest) and joined the group of about 15 people who had gathered around and were staring at the sand.
A tiny little turtle was painstakingly making his way seaward. His little flippers are ill-suited for land maneuver, so it was sort of a scooting thing, rather than a walking one. And oh so sloooooooowwww. We all cheered when he made it to his first wavelet, which, of course, carried him forward a foot and a half…before washing him back two and a half feet. So he struggled forward again, this time catching a wave (yes, we all thought of Finding Nemo) that carried him into deeper (three inch!) water, where he could properly swim.
Sadly, I didn’t have my camera, but he looked like the one on this page (scroll down a bit). Maybe as big as the palm of my hand (and much cuter).
It was truly nifty getting to see something that I’d read about since I was small (we used to rent a house at the same beach when I was a child). So tiny. So determined. And soooooo cute!