The most ancient mariners of Pawleys Island, the Loggerhead turtles, visit us every summer to nest within the dunes. It is a treasure to come across the evidence of their visit on an early morning beach walk, most often the trail they blaze from the surf to the dunes and back. Since they are designed for swimming, this trek is quite difficult. This is why it is so important for visitors to not leave any items on the beach overnight, and to fill in any holes and level sandcastles. Even with a smooth, unobstructed beach, mother turtles can be easily deterred from nesting, and return to the ocean and dump their eggs, making them unviable. Despite the dropping numbers of this endangered species, their wit and skill has served them well for about 40 million years. Not a bad track record. One turtle visited the north end of Pawleys Island last night and this morning, Camper and I saw her tracks:
The turtles are smart, but do not know how to spot a beach access trail. This turtle left her nest right at the end of a beach access trail, so the volunteers from S.C.U.T.E. relocated the nest slightly down the beach to a safe, quiet place in the dunes, well above the high tide mark.
Here is an aerial view of their new home before it was carefully covered with sand:
Now the eggs will toast in the hot South Carolina sun for the next couple of months. Then, one magical night, the top of the sand will start moving as the first baby turtles dig their way to the surface. They will scurry back down to the ocean and start their amazing journey. These precious baby turtles will not know what the gracious volunteers from S.C.U.T.E did for them, but we will. Every now and then, even the ancient Loggerheads need a little assistance navigating the world! Thank you, S.C.U.T.E. volunteers, for helping the baby turtles.
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