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Turtle Nesting Season in Captiva: Buried Treasure
"Turtle Nesting Season in Captiva: Buried Treasure"
From first of May all the way through to Halloween, there is buried treasure in the white sand beaches of Captiva and Sanibel Islands. It’s not pirate’s loot, despite the designation of these barrier islands as “the Buccaneer Coast.” No, this treasure trove consists of sea turtle eggs, which the mother turtle tucks about two feet down and leaves, letting the warm sand do the incubating. Two months later, the baby sea turtles hatch, scramble their way up and head for the sea.
This annual event has been going on for a long time (sea turtles are among the world’s most ancient creatures), but to the locals, it’s a miracle that never gets old.
It’s also a great time to visit this area of Florida and join in the excitement. Volunteers with FWC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) patrol the beaches to find, mark and watch over sea turtle nests. Everyone in the area shares news of the nests and reported hatchings.
Turtle Nesting season in Captiva Treat your family to the unique experience of watching the turtle nesting season in Captiva.
All sea turtle species are listed and protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Since the goal is to celebrate this natural phenomenon, and not to impede the activities of the turtles, everyone adheres to some basic guidelines.
Lights near the beach are turned off or shielded due to the fact that artificial light can scare off female sea turtles, who return every year to the beach where they hatched to lay their eggs. The lights can also confuse the hatchlings, sending them inland, instead off to the sea. Flashlights are hooded or covered with a red film.
When the baby sea turtles come out of the sand, they make a beeline for the water. Anything in their way is a barrier, perhaps even a fatal one, so residents and visitors make sure that chairs, trash, blankets, toys—everything—is removed from the beach and dunes between 9 pm and 7 am. Sandcastles get leveled and holes filled in to make a smooth lane for all turtle traffic.
A RESPECTFUL DISTANCE
Nature’s miracles do not benefit from meddling, so if a lucky person happens upon a female laying her eggs, or hatchlings emerging from a nest, the general rule is: stay back and refrain from flash photography.
If you are thinking about a family reunion, corporate retreat, destination wedding, or maybe just a tropical outing with your nature-loving family and friends, turtle nesting season in Captiva is the perfect time to come and join in the fun.
You can learn more about loggerhead, green and leatherback sea turtles while you are here by arranging a visit to SCCF (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation.) Check out their website for information and inspiration—you can even participate in their Adopt-A-Sea-Turtle-Nest program.
Or head to CROW (Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife) on Sanibel Island which operates one of the leading wildlife rehabilitation facilities in the United States. More than 250 volunteers work with CROW staff to make sure that injured wildlife, including sea turtles, heal and make their way back to their natural habitat.
The Sea Oats Luxury Estate would be an ideal home base for your forays around the islands to witness—responsibly of course—the natural wonders of turtle nesting season. Sea Oats is the largest and most luxurious rental home on Captiva. This waterfront estate is next to Roosevelt Channel, but only a short walk to the beaches of Captiva. For more information and to discuss your stay, please contact us soon–the season will be here before we know it!