Baby Sea Turtles Start Their New Lives!

Last night park personnel conducted a sea turtle nest inventory. This is done after a turtle nest has hatched so that the broken eggs can be counted, and DNA testing can reveal which mama turtle laid this particular nest. Occasionally un-hatched eggs are found and these are returned to the nest and covered back over with sand.

On more rare occasions, a live baby sea turtle or two is discovered in the process of it’s journey through the sand packed nest and up onto the beach where it has to make it’s way to the ocean. Last night was a considerably rare event as a significant number of live babies were uncovered and these were gently placed into a bucket for release on the beach. Once placed on the sand, the tiny turtles will begin their life’s journey to the ocean and hopefully make a successful swim to the Gulf Stream.

At one point during the nest excavation, turtle inventory team member Molly was surprised and delighted when a baby cracked open it’s shell and hatched right in her hand as she was holding it!

When you see how small these baby turtles are it seems impossible that any could possibly survive the long trip to the Gulf Stream but of course some certainly do. The mother of these babies may have started her own journey from this very same beach 35 years ago, and it’s possible one of these tiny creatures will return some day to make a nest of her own.

It was a truly memorable scene last night feeling and being this close to nature as it unfolds. To watch these miniature turtles so purposefully march their way down the sandy beach toward the ocean, making their little footprints, was in many ways a  spiritual experience.

Some had to climb over clumps of seaweed, and others were initially knocked back by a small wave, but each and every one eventually made it’s way into the ocean to start it’s new and incredible life!

Baby Sea Turtles Head To The Ocean

Baby Sea Turtles Head To The Ocean

Baby Sea Turtles Head To The Ocean

Baby Sea Turtles Head To The Ocean

Baby Sea Turtles Head To The Ocean

Baby Sea Turtles Head To The Ocean

Baby Sea Turtles Head To The Ocean

Baby Sea Turtles Head To The Ocean

Baby Sea Turtles Head To The Ocean

Baby Sea Turtles Head To The Ocean

Baby Sea Turtles Head To The Ocean

Baby Sea Turtles Head To The Ocean

35 thoughts on “Baby Sea Turtles Start Their New Lives!

  1. I can understand it when you say it was like a spiritual experience, Phil. When you think of the journey these tiny creatures are embarking on, the odds against their returning seems quite overwhelming and yet, stamped into their DNA is a complete map fur survival – wondrous nature at it’s mysterious best 🙂

    • It really is nature at it’s most wonderous and awe inspiring! They will instinctively return to the beach where they first hatch. So who knows? Maybe 35 years from now one of these babies here will lay her own nest on the beach in 2049. 🙂

    • Well I’m so happy you enjoyed these photos and the story! It was an amazing night all around. We were treated to an incredible sunset on our walk back along the beach. I will never forget the entire experience.

    • It was an incredible experience and we were honored and thrilled to have been there to witness it. Molly was still talking about her experience having the baby hatch right in her hand as she was holding the egg. What a night for her for sure!

  2. What a great experience. i saw this sometimes on TV but seeing this by his own eyes should be incredible. All this little and cute creatures, which goes to their future (for a lot it will be a bad end but it is nature that the most strong only can grow and imagine if they all become big, to many turtle in the sea !!!!).
    Thanks to share it with us Phil.

    • Thank you for looking at these Sophie and I’m happy you enjoyed the photos! It seems impossible that any one turtle could ever survive at all, but the turtle that made this nest survived nicely 35 years ago!

    • It sure was a thrill Charlie! We are still talking about it and thinking about it today and will for some time I expect.
      We were also treated to an amazing sunset off the beach as we were walking back later. What a night!

  3. Phil, this series brings to mind your similar post in 2012 wherein you talked about insurmountable odds – and HOPE. That blog, as well as this, made me stop all that I was doing, and just reflect on life priorities for a while. The 9th pic – the one turtle with it’s flipper up is precious! Like it’s saying goodbye…and hello world! Melts the heart!!! Thank you for bringing these poignant images & principles back to our awareness. Hopefully someday we’ll be able to join you on that beach witnessing first hand – cheering on & celebrating – such momentous beginnings.

    • Thank you so much for your very kind and thoughtful words Edna, it is greatly appreciated!
      That sea turtle post from back in 2012 remains one of my all time favorites and one of the most viewed.
      At that time there was just the one lone hatchling found in that nest, but this time well over 20 were discovered and released. After these turtles were all on their way across the ocean, we were then treated to an amazing sunset from the beach. What a night!

      • 😀 Amazing! So where are those sunset pics?! …One last thought on the 2012: was so moved by your story, it was what captured and kept me to your blog. Then, I posted it everywhere, Facebook, etc. telling family, friends – everyone to check you out. Such joy.

        • Well now you have given me an idea. I think I will post one or two sunsets pics later today. 🙂
          So great to hear how much you enjoyed that turtle post from 2012 and thank you for posting the link along.
          To this day I can check my stats and see that someone viewed that turtle story, good to know it’s still floating around out there. 🙂

  4. Phil – I’m part of the Garden City Beach turtle team and we have 4 nests so far this year – however, all 4 are believed to be the same Mama, which happens to be a rare GREEN sea turtle (not a loggerhead that we usually get here in SC) This Mama turtle comes back to Garden City Beach every other year to lay her nests so we’re pretty sure she must have hatched here as well. Green hatchlings look quite different from Loggerheads…. contact me and I’ll give you more info and let you know when our nests are being inventoried so you may be able to get some Green Hatchling shots! They look like turtles in tuxedos! 🙂

  5. Godspeed, you most amazing little creatures!! Thanks so much for sharing this thoroughly beautiful process. It never fails to amaze me. Sending them as many best wishes and prayers on their incredible journey as humanly possibly…. 🙂

    • Thank you so much for your very kind words and although the odds do seem insurmountable, some do indeed make it and may some day return to this very same beach to make their own nest.

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