Thursday, September 11, 2008
Wednesday Night - Ike, Part II
At 8:15 p.m. Wednesday night, I made a run to the Starboard Village nest PB 7081 to see if water was closing in on that area of Pensacola Beach also. Though Kirsten, an experience marine biologist had heard very faint sounds from the nest a few times, as a novice I was never sure if that was the source of any sounds I heard. This particular nest had been exposed to more saltwater than the others and was located at a lower elevation on the beach.
I counted off 8 steps from the nest to the high water mark. It didn't look good.
By the time I got back to Nest PB 7111, which was located near the intersection of Calle Juela and Bulevar Mayor, Kirsten was there and as anxious as I was about the nest being flooded. But when Mark arrived and studied the situation, he decided it was best to wait it out and give the hatchlings a chance to emerge on their own. That has to be one of the hardest jobs for a volunteer to learn -- stand back and let nature take its course whenever possible.
Kirsten and Mark moved on to other sites on the island and I hunkered down with a blanket, planning to stay at the nest 'til midnight. The Gulf seemed bipolar - slow rolling waves which crashed spectacularly across sandbars in the distance with thundering booms, then switching into a churning, foaming, angry sea, rushing toward the dunes with way too much attitude.
Around 11:30 p.m., the wind picked up quickly and considerably, easily gusting up to 30 mph. Things began to feel different as a hot heavy wind blew over me, followed by a cold dry rush. The two forces continued to duke it out for at least half an hour in their atmospheric boxing ring.
Midnight: time to head home and escape the elements which had definitely taken a turn for the worse.