Noah and Luca Hounsfield squeezed their way through the crowd of spectators to sit front row for the nest opening. Without doing so, the 4-and 6-year-old boys on vacation from England would have never been able to see anything through the crowd that had formed on the beach.
They would have missed out on seeing two baby sea turtles get pulled from a nest.
The Longboat Key Turtle Watch nest excavations always attract a large gathering. Typically around 100 spectators come out to watch as volunteers open nests that have hatched to count the eggs and rescue any baby turtles that have not yet made their way out. But the July 26 nest opening was record-breaking.
More than 400 spectators gathered on the beach behind Sun ’n’ Sea to watch the excavation of a nest that had hatched July 23.
Among the spectators were Bev Darvin Cwerner and her family, who donate to the Longboat Key Turtle Watch’s Name Our Nest program every year in memory of Cwerner’s father, Herb Darvin.
Tammie Averso, a Longboat Key Turtle Watch volunteer, excavated the nest, which yielded two baby sea turtles, 71 hatched eggs and 45 unhatched eggs.
Turtle Watch volunteer Freda Perrotta and other volunteers were pleased with the turnout and the nest.
“It’s a lot better than last year,” said Cyndi Seamon, another Turtle Watch volunteer who recalls how last year’s summer storms yielded a disappointing turtle-nesting season for volunteers. “(We are) totally impressed with the interest that our community has for sea turtles.”
BY THE NUMBERS
400 — The number of spectators
71 — The number of hatched eggs
2 — The number of hatchlings pulled from the nest
45 — The number of unhatched eggs
116 — The total number of eggs found in the nest
20 — The number of centimeters below the surface the first egg was discovered
IF YOU GO
The next nest opening will be 7:45 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 1, at 6405 Gulfside Road.
Parking is available at 6400 Gulf of Mexico Drive at the corner of GMD and General Harris Street.
To see more photos from the sea turtle-nest excavation, click here.