19 May 2020
This is guest writer Taitum, in Guest Services and this is my second year as a turtle walker. I get up nice and early each Monday morning (form April 15 - October 31) to check my section of beach for turtle crawls, garbage and left out beach equipment. The sunrises are so beautiful, I am blessed to see them. This year we were delayed in getting out due to Covid-19. Update: SCCF and the city of Sanibel are now allowing us to start walking, with some previsions. Currently, they are only allowing Sanibel residents to walk. So, for me that means I need to wait a little longer, they are doing this for everyone’s safety. I cannot wait.
Even though the “regular” walkers were not able to get out there Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) have been working hard and checking all the beach each morning and the turtles are out. The numbers are up from even this time last year. We even have 2 leather back nests, and she has had two other false crawls. Below are pictures that the night surveyors took when they saw the rare leatherback turtle.
False crawls are when the turtle emerges from the water to nest, but encounters an obstruction (a man-made object, hole or sandcastle), and is disturbed by noise, people, light, or just doesn't approve of the conditions and returns to the water without laying eggs. She may try to nest again later that night, on a different part of the beach or she could wait until the following night for another attempt.
Here are the nest and false crawl numbers as of 5/15/20 given to me by the SCCF:
Please do not disrupt any sea turtles you may see out on the beach if they get interrupted or scared, they will not lay their eggs. If you are going to be out on the beach after dark please make sure you are not using a regular flashlight, please use one that has a red tint. The turtles will see the white light and get disrupted and leave without laying her eggs. The baby sea turtles follow the moonlight out to the water and any man-made light they see, they may head toward that and never reach the gulf. It is very important not to touch or disrupt them if you see the babies crawl. They need to imprint on their way to the water, so when it is their time they will know where go to lay their own nests and start the cycle again.
At the end of each beach day, please make sure to take all garbage and furniture with you. Make sure to fill in any and all holes and level any sandcastles. These steps will help the sea turtle flourish. If you would like more information please visit the SCCF web-site.
If you want to come see the nests please book direct and save.