On a late July turtle walk to the Archie Carr Wildlife Refuge, Rich and I walked a good stretch of the beach without encountering a turtle. I wondered if it would be a turtle-less morning when I spotted sand being thrown in the dunes. That’s a sure sign of a nesting Green sea turtle. Green sea turtles dig giant nests and scatter sand widely to disguise the true location of their precious eggs.
That turtle kept us waiting for an hour! We took several little walks up and down the beach, waiting for her to finish her nest. Rich wrote the turtle’s nickname in the sand – “SLOW POKE!”
The turtle was worth the wait. After she emerged from her nesting hole, she started her slow crawl down the beach. Rich and I were the only people around, and we gave her plenty of space.
It was long past sunrise, so I didn’t even try for the “turtle entering the water with the sunrise in the background” shot. Instead I ran down to the water and waded in so I could photograph her as she approached the waves. You could see the relief on her face as she approached her water home.
The waves began to rinse the sand from her. She gave me a final portrait pose as she entered the water. Already the waves were washing away her tracks as she headed into the waves and swam off. With any luck, the eggs that she left buried in the sand will hatch in about two months!
Want to learn more about nature photography at Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge?
Check out my Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge page with more information about the location, map, website, photography tips, etc. It is archived by date so you can see my images from previous visits. Maybe you'll be inspired for your own trip!
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