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My imagination ran through what this little creature must have endured since digging out of her sandy nest sometime in the previous night. Just crossing the beach is treacherous.
I once watched (from too far away) as a Great Blue Heron ate nearly every baby sea turtle in the nest as they came up out of the sand. I ran, but by the time I got there, only one baby remained.
Ghost crabs who patrol these beaches, consider "turtlets" prized delicacies.
Gulls and osprey cruise the shore.
Lights from the condos, hotels and roads disorient turtle hatchlings and account for many deaths - the little ones stray up onto roads and yards where they dehydrate and die, are eaten or run over. There are lights-out laws, but they are rarely enforced.
Only one in a thousand makes it to adulthood.
(Check out http://research.myfwc.com/support/view_faqs.asp?id=16)
Hurricane Igor, way out near Bermuda, was sending big waves to this coast on this morning. If the surfers had to fight their way beyond the break, how could a tiny floating sea turtle make it? It was clearly a tough day to be born.
It was a thrill to see her launch into the shallow Atlantic wash, but then the first little shorebreak rolled up and dashed the turtle about before spitting her back onto the beach. Looking defeated, she sat there for a bit, then tried again. I imagined once more, the little turtle dodging crabs, being ejected time and again by the raging waves, and finally being snatched up by the sea gull. Determined to give this one a better chance, I stripped to my bathing suit, scooped up the little loggerhead once more, and swam her out beyond the furthest break. Now, I thought, all she has to do is cross a few miles of wild Atlantic waters to the relative safety and rich food supply of the weed line at the edge of the Gulfstream. I like to think she made it.
|Sea Meets Shore to Little Eyes|
|Spit Out |