Since moving to the beach, I have had the unique experience of by YcTkkx


									Since moving to the beach, I have had the unique experience of participating as
a volunteer with N.E.S.T., which is the Network for Endangered Sea Turtles.
N.E.S.T. is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and protection
of the habitats and migration routes of Sea Turtle and other marine animals on
the Outer Banks of North Carolina from the Virginia border to Oregon Inlet.

The Outer Banks of North Carolina is one of the northernmost ranges for sea
turtles. Sea turtles visit the Outer Banks during early- to mid-summer to lay
eggs. Those eggs hatch 55 - 80 days after they are laid. An average sea turtle
nest contains 75 - 150 ping pong-sized eggs.

              Sea turtle hatchlings are approximately 2 inches long. It is
estimated that only 1 sea turtle hatchling in 1,000 survive to maturity, which is
approximately 18 years old. Weighing 250 - 400 pounds, adult Loggerheads can
grow to more than three feet in length. There are five species of sea turtles that
visit the Outer Banks. All sea turtles are threatened or endangered and they are
protected by the Endangered Species Act. Loggerhead and Green sea turtles
are the most common turtles to visit the Outer Banks.

As a N.E.S.T volunteer, I have responded to turtle strandings, and done early
morning “turtle patrol” looking for turtle crawls which indicated nesting activity.

                               But the best part is nest sitting. When a nest was laid
recently in the four wheel drive area of Carova near where I live, I had the
opportunity to nest sit for three Mondays in a row. We monitor the nest from 7:00
pm until 2:00 am looking for any indication of hatching activity. My husband
likened it to watching paint dry. But the third week we were rewarded with a
“boil”. This is where 98 of the cutest little hatchlings you ever did see came
boiling out of the sand all at once!! And those buggers were FAST!! They had
their little flippers going at an incredible rate and they made an absolute bee-line
for the ocean. It was the coolest thing. Now those sweet little 2” turtles are out in
that big ocean and will make it all the way to Africa before the females reach
maturity and come back to this very beach to lay their own nest.
NC Park Service Photo

It certainly has been my pleasure to be a part of this amazing process, and I look
forward to the opportunity to be a “nest mother” next year!

Your guest blogger KG

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