In mid-August 2011 just as we are leaving the beach two of the three original Camp OBX campers, Martin and Jake, and I get a real treat. The turtle nest that is due to boil any day begins to do just that. We have literally packed our things and are headed towards the steps when we look over at the nest carefully cordoned off by the hard working N.E.S.T folks. This is done from the time the eggs are laid until hatching, or boiling, in turtle lingo. As time for a nest to hatch approaches the volunteers also add a path to the beach carefully brushed smooth and blocked off with stakes and tape.
Most nests boil after sunset but before midnight. Because N.E.S.T volunteers are so protective of the new hatchlings no one is allowed to use a flash light to view a night crawl. The odd lights might confuse the babies headed to the more often than not moon lit sea. So on that rare occasion when a nest goes off in the day light hours witnesses get to actually see the process. We have come to play at this part of the beach every day of camp in hopes of seeing a boil knowing realistically that our chances are pretty remote. Lydia, the remaining original camper will be along next week. She is at German camp in Richmond this week or she would have been with us too. We really did get lucky.
August 2015 brings another turtle adventure for Camp OBX. The aquarium on Roanoke Island is planning on releasing three green turtles that have been rescued and rehabilitated at their facility. Campers and I at various times throughout the past two years have seen all three turtles and Edward even got to chat at length with one volunteer about Augie’s broken flipper and how students at NC State made a custom cast using a 3-D printer.
The release is scheduled for Monday morning August 3rd at 8:30AM. Donald, Terri & Sebastian are at family camp and they decide that it is worth getting up and out for to witness. I drop them off and begin a search for a parking place. Car secure, I head to the beach access. There are already hundreds of people gathered on this pleasant overcast morning.
As I cross the street to meet up with DTS, I hear an aquarium volunteer tell the Nags Head police officer helping everyone safely get across the beach road that the turtles are not here yet. Barely have I relayed this information to DTS when I spy volunteers with three plastic containers headed from the beach access to the area roped off a few yards north. The boxes are so small. Surely they cannot be holding the turtles. But they are. The turtles looked so much bigger to me in the hospital tanks.
Sebastian and I wiggle our way to the front of the roped off section and watch while the turtles are paraded around for everyone to see. It is a well organized event and everyone gets a chance to see at least one turtle up close. We get a view of the special cast off of Augie’s flipper.
And then it’s time for the release. First Sea Biscuit all 6.16 pounds of him. After he is safely beyond the shore break, it’s Crab’s turn. He’s the middle child today, middle in weight at 11.88 pounds and middle to be released. And finally frantic to get out of the box is big bruiser at 13.64 pounds, Augie. It’s been two whole years. He’s grateful for the helping hands but he wants to get back to the sea.
And hour and a half from when we started our adventure we’re home getting breakfast. Should have been flipping pancakes but we settled for biscuits, in Sea Biscuit’s honor.