It's mid-summer in Florida, the heat and humidity can be stifling as you feed the local mosquito population. And, when is the frequent rain going to stop? Then something happens to cheer everyone up. Thousands of newly hatched sea turtles or hatchlings suddenly appear on the beach from nests deposited several months ago.
The turtle hatching season began over three weeks ago and is picking up steam. The peak will be in August. With an average incubation period of 53 days, nests from mid to late May are currently emerging on our beaches. It's the beginning of a new generation and the mad dash for the sea. It's also a time to remind locals and visitors that hatchling sea turtles need dark beaches to find the ocean. Artificial lights found on homes, yards, swimming pools, businesses, parking lots and other structures cause turtles to crawl towards them and not the sea. The mantra for controlling light is keep it low, keep it shielded, but most of all, keep it off the beach.