Excavation & Alligators

Sunrise came quickly. I was coerced into trying some of the “best coke you’ve ever tasted” at around 4:00 Sunday. At 1:45 Monday morning, I wish I had refused those few innocent swallows. The excitement of the week ahead mixed with caffeine – as delicious as it was ice-cold on a hot afternoon – left me unable to sleep.

But, when the sun came up, we determined to hit the beach and begin looking for turtles. As we headed down to the beach, we met FOHI (Friends of Hunting Island) volunteers who gave us the morning update. The two nests that were on the beach area where we were walking did not hatch. BUT, there was an excavation planned in a few minutes at a nearby site. So, we headed that way.

Two to three days after a sea turtle nest hatches, park rangers excavate the nest to search from any babies who didn’t make their way out, to count the hatches as well as document bad eggs. This nest didn’t have any babies left – healthy or dead. All the live babies had crawled off to the ocean and there were none that had died trying to get out, though there were fourteen eggs that didn’t hatch at all.

It was exciting to see a nest, but we want to see babies! I’m just not quite sure yet how we’re going to pull that off. They hatch most often at night, when it’s cool. We’re going to talk to one of the park rangers tomorrow to see if they can tell us where the nests are that are near hatching. We’d like to go to that nest first thing in the morning on Thursday, to see if we can spot any hatchlings. There will be another excavation performed on Thursday, so we’re going to try to go to it, as well.

We’ve attended the class on alligators. It was fascinating. There is a healthy young mama who is living at the Welcome Center here at the park. They expect that she has a nest, but haven’t yet spotted it. Isn’t she beautiful, hiding in her pond?

Each of us have each found a sharks tooth. There are so many to be found, but we’ve only been able to put our hands on one or two each. We look each time we’re on the beach.

We’ve spent almost all of our time on the beach or at classes. The beach is just so wide and beautiful.

I have so many incredible pictures … but my upload time is about three minutes per picture so it’s taking me a long, long time to complete a blog. I’ve had trouble more than once getting the pictures to go through (as seen by the photo-less captions at the left. As hard as it is for me to say, I think I’m going to have to wait until I get home to finish sharing.

Thanks for checking in. We’ll be home soon.

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