We have now passed into the busy part of the season, where we are still doing night patrols to find nesting turtles, but we are also out protecting nests and looking for hatchlings! Our nests have started to hatch at Sandy Point, and the hatch success has been fantastic. There must be some magical combination of sun and rain that is making our nests hatch so well. In each of the five nests that have emerged so far, there have been more than 60 hatchlings bubbling up! Leatherback nests here at Sandy Point have ~77 eggs per nest, so this is really an amazing number to have coming up. The Turtle Watch program has also been lucky enough to see a few of these hatchouts while they are waiting for a nesting turtle to arrive.
Nesting is continuing quite well, although this is a slower year than we have experienced in several years. Most nesting beaches in the Caribbean are seeing lower numbers than usual, including in Florida, where colleagues at Florida Leatherbacks and the Loggerhead Marinelife Center are also documenting nesting turtles. In the past couple weeks here, we’ve had the following moms come up to nest: Rapunzel (6 nests now), Coco (4 nests), Seri (3 nests), Esmerelda (3 nests), Gigi (3 nests), and Sabrina (5 nests). Most of our girls are repeat nesters, we haven’t seen a new turtle to our beach in a couple of weeks.
Our team has also been busy – between night patrols, hatchling patrols, data entry, and project maintenance, they found time to help out with some coral restoration that was being done by The Nature Conservancy right here off the West End!