...well, not until last night, that is!
My husband and I were getting organized to evacuate in advance of T.S. Isaac, forecasted to come ashore as a Category 2 storm Tuesday night, when I heard the phone ring upstairs. I couldn't get to it in time, but a wonderful lady by the name of Dee Askegard left me a message saying a nest was hatching on the beach and no one was there! YIKES!
Dee was heading back to the nest, but left directions for me to find the area. When I arrived, Dee and her husband, Vernon, were guarding the nest, which had been screened earlier, but was ready to "boil." It was an impressive collapse and barely light enough for me to get a photo with my phone! All the rain we've had this summer had created a hard surface over the nest, but there was a gap of 2" - 3" to where the hatchling heads were just beginning to peep through.
Shortly after dark, more people arrived, adding to the oooh's and ahhh's as they saw tiny heads appearing. I felt a light tap on my shoulder and turned toward a pretty blonde who said, "Are you DJ?" What a hoot! I'm beginning to feel popular! It was another long time blog follower, Kathy Condon, with her husband, children, and grandchildren! Kathy and her husband split their time between Minnesota and their place on Pensacola Beach and they surely timed this family vacation perfectly for a very special event they'll always remember.
With the help of the Askegards, their friends, and the Condon family, we helped 98 tiny loggerhead hatchlings from PB6221 make their way into the Gulf of Mexico by 9 p.m.
We also had two other nests hatch last night, so the tiny turtles must have heard there's a storm coming and decided to step it up! Luckily, my friend and fellow patroller, Melanie Waite, her son Sean, and her daughter Celene's family (all long time turtlers) were all out last night to attend the sudden popping of nests.
There is a real possibility that our remaining nests will be completely lost or heavily impacted by Isaac. Perhaps we'll be lucky and see a few more into the Gulf tonight, but then it will be out of our hands and up to Mother Nature.
Good work, guys!