This month, all over the southern U.S., Central America, and the Caribbean, thousands of tiny little sea turtle hatchlings are emerging from their eggs, digging their way to the surface of the sand, and scurrying down beaches to the ocean. We’re coming toward the end of sea turtle nesting season (March through October) in the western hemisphere, and there’s good news this year: Researchers say 2015 is shaping up to be a banner year for sea turtles from the Carolinas to Florida — their numbers have rebounded after a slump year, according to the Associated Press.
This season, I was lucky enough to participate in the yearly sea turtle conservation program at the Four Seasons Resort Nevis, which the hotel runs in conjunction with the Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC). (The 2016 dates are July 15-19; it’s not to be missed.) Along with David Godfrey, Executive Director at STC, local volunteer conservationists, and other resort guests, I spent hours each night walking Nevis’s beaches in the complete darkness (no flashlights allowed) hoping to see a sea turtle digging her nest and dropping her eggs. This year, we found two — Luna and Millie, both hawksbills. The turtles were tagged and released in order to help STC track them and gain valuable knowledge that will aid with future sea turtle conservation efforts. But more than just helping the cause and seeing the amazing sight of sea turtles nesting, I learned what fantastic creatures they are. Here are six amazing things you need to know about sea turtles.