- Mar 15, 2013
I've looked at the Seagrove sky beach cam at night and saw hundreds of flashlights up and down the beach. I invite you all to look for yourselves.South Walton Turtle Watch is experiencing a banner year with a total of 90 turtle nests so far this season, almost to the record of 98.
“And it’s only mid-July!” exclaimed Turtle Watch Head Sharon Maxwell in delight.
However, even with a banner year, she is exasperated because in addition to the 90 nests, she has recorded 63 false crawls.
A false crawl is when a sea turtle comes ashore to nest and can’t because of people, lights or an object left in her path that prevent her nesting.
Maxwell said South Walton had a rare green sea turtle come ashore to nest, but did not for those reasons, logging a false crawl. The next night, Panama City Beach Turtle Watch reported they had a green nest.
“We really are sharing the beach with sea turtles and people are harassing them on the beach when they (come) ashore to nest,” she said.
The stories of sightings of these incidents are mostly told to volunteer turtle watch walkers the morning following incidents.
“We have been trying forever to educate people. We have done everything we can think of. We started the Friends of Turtle Watch who are taking information to rental places and talking to the public, but to no avail,” said Maxwell. “People feel they have the right to touch and shine a light on turtles.”
However, harassing a sea turtle, shining a white light on them, touching or keeping them from nesting when they come ashore is against the law.