OK ~ I admit it…this isn’t your usual birth story – but it’s about a birth(s) and I was there to photograph babies, it was unique (they all are) and amazing (they all are) so here I am blogging about it! This birth was a SEA TURTLE birth! I mean AYKM? What an awesome opportunity to witness this miracle?
Earlier this summer, my family & I were vacationing at my all time favorite place on earth, Edisto Island, SC, and several times were able to witness turtle hatchling “boils”! Let me explain…”Boil” refers to when turtles crawl/dig out of their nests, which are about 2 feet under the sand. The first night we were at the beach we happened upon the turtle patrol inventorying an “older” nest, one that had previously had 2 “boils”. Generally, after the turtles hatch out of the nest, the volunteer turtle patrol will come through and dig up a nest to count hatched eggs, any unhatched eggs and hopefully, find several turtles that may need a little hand getting out of the nest. In the case of the 1st nest we saw – 2 turtles were excavated and allowed to crawl to the ocean. All total, 106 used eggs were found, meaning 106 baby turtles made their way to the ocean.
An interesting fact, baby turtles consume the yolk in their eggs which give them about 4 days of stored up energy which will hopefully help them get to the Gulf Stream, where they can find shelter and food. FOUR DAYS!! They have to leave their nest, hopefully start in the right direction and crawl to the ocean (turn out your lights!!), past hungry seagulls, head into the water where there are a number of ravenous predators and swim their little selves to the Gulf Stream… And I worry about my son riding his bike to school…
These are the empty shells of turtles that had hatched and made their way to the ocean.
The last night we were at Edisto, my son & I were out on the beach late in the evening and witnessed an authentic “Boil” – lit only by the red lights of the turtle patrol’s flashlights, we watched as 50+ hatchlings came boiling and bubbling out of their nest and made their way to the Atlantic Ocean on their own. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera with me that evening – not that it would have mattered since it was pitch black outside.
None-the-less it was an amazing thing to witness! We learned so much about these little turtles and the perils they face. Only 1 in a 1,000 will actually make it to adulthood. For more information check out this site and this site.