What an amazing night! In the exact hour that the experiment.com fundraising effort came to a close, we were lucky enough to see a leatherback turtle crawl out of the water right in front of us! Chris and I have been surveying from the road for the past week while we wait for our ATVs to arrive. We drive up and down the road and use the public walkovers to scout for turtles. At one of our last stops for the night, at around 2:30am, we were contemplating whether or not we would encounter a turtle. We walked to the end of the walkway while discussing the likelihood of encountering a turtle using this limited survey method. To our surprise, we were greeted with the sight of a big beautiful turtle crawling up the beach. It was an awesome moment!
From a distance, we watched her crawl up the beach and dig her nest. While nesting, we quickly worked her up and explained our work with a few beachgoers visiting from Michigan. We were all excited to encounter the first turtle of the season. It is a rare for us to find a turtle this early in the season but even more rare for a few tourists walking down the beach to come across one!
Thank you for all of your support! We could not have done it without each and every one of you! We can't thank you enough and we will think of each of you often as we continue through the 2014 leatherback season. Please keep following our work at www.floridaleatherbacks.com where will be posting daily updates. You can also follow us on Twitter @leatherbacksfla or on instagram @projectleatherback
Here is a look at our first turtle of the 2014 season through a very grainy infrared camera.