Some girls want to go to fancy restaurants for their birthday. Some want a party. Some want to go out dancing or for a girls’ night out. This girl… wanted to go see sea turtles lay eggs! (Yes, I acknowledge that I am strange.)
A few of my loving friends begrudgingly accommodated my request and others were genuinely intrigued themselves. Gumbo Limbo Environmental Center in Boca Raton, Fl. offers guided tours of the beach to see Loggerhead mamas lay their eggs, preceded by a very informative lecture of turtles and how to save these endangered animals.
Seeing a turtle lay eggs is never guaranteed because nature cannot be predicted. To top it all off, only loggerheads can be observed in the act because they are the least endangered of the 3 species that lay their eggs on our beaches (the other two being Green Turtles and Leatherbacks.) Turtle Specialists scout the beaches from 9pm to midnight in hopes of finding one for onlookers to watch. By 11pm I was convinced that we were not going to get lucky that night… but FINALLY we were called via walkie talkie to start heading North on the beach we were at to see a loggerhead who was about to start laying eggs close by. Unfortunately (or fortunately) a Green Turtle walked out of the ocean right in front of our group as we headed towards the loggerhead. We were instructed to sit quietly on the sand until she had dug her hole and began laying eggs herself or else we could spook her off the beach! What an exhilarating night!
Finally, we made it to the loggerhead just as she was finishing up and were able to observe her packing sand on her eggs, turn around and head towards the ocean. It was an amazing experience. Not a bad way to begin my 34th year on this planet!