A Fantastic Sight

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Florida Guide > Miscellaneous

A Fantastic Sight

The most fantastic sight I have ever seen while holidaying in Florida was a Loggerhead Turtle laying its eggs on Melbourne Beach and it didn’t cost us a penny to see.

It was in the aftermath of hurricane Charlie when our flight home had been delayed by two days, our airline offered to put us up in the 4 star Hilton Hotel right on the beach at Melbourne on Florida’s East coast.

We were coached there from Orlando Airport, we all had a feeling of anticipation, 30 minutes previously we were expecting to be waiting to board for our flight home, now we had an extra two days holiday. The journey was very pleasant, it’s nice to be chauffeured around Florida’s busy August roads, especially when traffic lights were not working, electricity polls and trees were down and there was a lot of debris about.

On arrival we booked in and were shown to our adjoining rooms, kids one side, us on the other, our room had a balcony with a marvellous view of the beach and sea. That evening we went for a walk on the beach and came across some tracks that looked like a JCB tyre track, except it couldn’t have been a JCB because the tracks crossed over each other. I recalled seeing a wildlife documentary on TV and realised the tracks had been made by a Turtle, crawling up the beach laying her eggs and turning around to head back towards the sea.

At breakfast the next day we spoke to the hotel staff about what we had seen and they confirmed the tracks were made by turtles. They think the lights from buildings are the moon and are attracted ashore. The staff told us about one o’clock in the morning was the best time to catch them, don’t take any flash lights with you and keep very quiet and try not to let them see you until they have dug their nest and started laying their eggs. Once they have started laying they go into a sort of trance and don’t notice you, it’s then safe to go right up close and you won’t frighten them back into the sea.

That day we got back to the hotel around 11:00 in the evening, you know how it is, you’re tired and you want to go to sleep after a long day, but I’m eternally grateful to my wife who persuaded me to rouse myself and go down to the beach at around half past mid-night. Within 200 metres of the hotel access to the beach we came across a turtle making its way up the beach, what a sight, I’d seen it on the TV but never expected to see it in real life. The images of what I saw that night will stay with me for the rest of my life, I felt very privileged to have seen it and to give the turtle a pat on the back as she made her way back to the sea.

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