Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sunday Evening On The Beach

It rained here nearly all afternoon. Late this evening there was a little break, so it left just enough time to go out on the beach before the sun went down. I thought there might be a pretty sunset, because of the clouds. That is, if it wasn't totally covered by clouds.

Just starting to walk up resident access #2, you could hear the constant roar of the surf. I was a little apprehensive walking toward that sound and worried about the sea turtle nests. At the crest of the path, I could see the white edges of the big waves. When I looked down toward the end of the path, there was a lot of water. I couldn't believe my eyes. I haven't seen tide come in quite that far before. As I stood there looking at what was in front of me, I knew it had to be disastrous for all of the sea turtle nests.

With a queasy feeling in my stomach, I took off my shoes and waded nearly knee deep through the water. The tide was out now, but still not out that far. It looked like the high tide had left at least a foot of sand on top of what had previously been there. The sand and some shells were washed into the dunes.

I'm not a good judge of the wave size, but to me they looked to be 4 to 6 foot. As they crashed, it sent foamy water way up onto the beach. It was a beautiful site, watching that and the sun setting.

From where I stood, I could see what stakes and ribbons were left of three sea turtle nests. They had been washed over and some stakes were way up in the dunes. The ones I found, I put back in the sand with what was left, but I suppose it won't matter now.

Just had to go over to Light House Beach to check on the last nest in our zone that is unhatched. No doubt it had also been washed over by the high surf. It is actually due the hatch soon.

There were lots of people out watching the high waves on Light House Beach, just as there had been on the West Gulf Beach. After walking just a little way from the parking area, it was obvious that the nest was gone. There were no stakes, ribbon or sign. Everything was gone. Our Permittee had just replaced the stakes and ribbon this morning.

Walking back, it was strange to see the beach look so different than it did this morning. It was perfectly clean and smooth all the way up into the dunes. The entire area was covered with crushed shells, that crunched as you walked. The last picture was taken on that beach in the dark.

The high surf advisory is in effect here until around 2:00 PM tomorrow. The news this evening said there had been waves as high as 48 feet reported out in the Gulf. The weather channel said that 36 foot waves had been reported. Whatever they are, I wouldn't want to be in the way of Gustav or anywhere near it out in the Gulf.


Tink *~*~* said...

Poor turtle babies! :-( They are probably drowned by now.

I wonder if/when the good stuff will roll in?

Tink *~*~*

Rhea said...

I enjoyed all your beautiful photos but feel so sad about the sea turtles. :o(

gpc said...

Wow. I've never seen the path flooded like that. What a beautiful sight, if not so destructive.

Anvilcloud said...

What a beautiful spot. It's very sad about the turtles, but I suppose in the long run that nature has planned for such contingencies. I hope you weather the storms of the season.

kidlibrarian said...

I have never seen the waves like that before.

When things are going to get bad like during hurricanes, does anyone ever take the turtle eggs from the nest and put them in an incubator (do not know a lot about this, sorry)

Also all these accesses you go to, can these be used by anyone? I always just seem to stay in front of the condo I rent, but would love to explore more.

Tootie said...

The accesses can be used by anyone, but parking there is only for residents who purchase a parking sticker for their vehicle or have a disabeled tag. You could ride a bike or walk there.

As for moving the turtle eggs, it can only be safely done within a few hours after nesting. After that time, the membrane attaches to the inside of the egg shell, if an egg is moved, it could cause the membrane to become detached and stop the egg from developing.