Bright and early on the morning of July 21, 2016, members of the Island Turtle Team headed to the southern end of Isle of Palms to inventory the first two loggerhead turtle nests to hatch this season. Under the nesting permit from S.C. Department of Natural Resources, they are required to do an inventory three days after a nest hatches (about 75 days after it is laid). During the process, team members excavate the eggs to determine how many hatched. They also take samples for research purposes and take note of any unhatched eggs or babies that didn’t make it out of the nest.
Often, some baby turtles that weren’t able to escape the nest are still alive and the team helps dig them out and releases them on the beach to begin their long ocean journey. Suzanne Fine, who discovered the nest near 713 Ocean Blvd on May 19, was on hand to help the babies into the water. She and her three children, Veruka, Wilhelmina and Sante, released them from a small bucket to crawl into the water in front of the assembled crowd of about 60 people.
Nest number 1, which was right next to number 2, had emerged on Saturday after midnight and had only 70 eggs and 21 of them did not hatch. There were no live hatchlings left in that nest. Turtles are still nesting on the islands, and the hatches will continue well into the fall.
Credit: By Jennifer Tuohy, Island Eye News Editor