Navarre Beach is full of surprises, and our last sea turtle nest of the season was no exception.
These tiny loggerhead sea turtle babies decided to burst forth from the sand and make their scurrying shuffle for the ocean for an audience!
Sea turtle nests typically only hatch between dusk and dawn, but not these little guys. At 9:30 a.m. roughly a dozen babies no bigger than a ping pong ball startled and delighted several visitors to the beach from out of state.
Struggling to make their trek over yards of open sand to the Gulf of Mexico, these little turtles made their way as photos were snapped.
Later that evening their brothers and sisters emerged to make their trek to the water.
I and several other witnesses got to watch these babies make their run. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to watch these creatures in their first moments of life.
We were all quiet, lights covered and dimmed, as we made a wall on each side of the turtles’ path. As the babies made winding paths, not always going the right direction, toward the water we watched.
Then when they would reach the water, the waves would kick up and send the little guys spinning at first. All you wanted to do was go and help them, but we waited. Then the little turtles got their bearings, and with another wave they were swimming out to freedom at full speed, off to grow up in a cycle more ancient than even some dinosaurs.
That was the end of the turtle nesting season.
Navarre Beach saw 1,153 sea turtle hatchlings make their escape to the Gulf of Mexico. Maybe next year you can see a few of them. I can honestly say it is a worthwhile experience.