Its that time of year again when some of Edistos most beautiful ladies visit the beach – granted, these ladies are well over the 200-pound mark and have flippers.
Over the past month, dozens of loggerhead sea turtles have been swimming to shore to nest. To date, Edisto Beach has more than 30 sea turtle nests, while Edingsville Beach has 12 and Botany Bay has 114.
It is important that visitors and residents adhere to local rules and regulations pertaining to the turtles, especially concerning light pollution. Remember to keep exterior lights off and close the curtains over windows that shine interior light onto the beach and surrounding area.
Baby sea turtles confuse artificial light with the moon and can fail to make their way into the ocean. Female loggerheads can also be distracted by the light and release their clutch into the water.
Protecting the sea turtles is something that almost all Edisto-lovers respect. The threatened species is also protected by federal law as they are in danger of becoming endangered in the United States (they are already endangered in other parts of the world). In addition to turning off lights, it is important to keep the beaches and waterways free from litter and debris. Anything that causes a hindrance to a loggerheads ability to nest can impact the future survival of the species.
That is why beach-goers are required to fill in any holes, flatten sandcastles, and remove any items brought to the beach by the end of the day.
If you happen to see a loggerhead while visiting Edisto Beach, remember to respect the animal by not interrupting the nesting process. It takes an incredible amount of energy to nest, and interrupted turtles will often go back into the water and release their clutches, which means none of the eggs ever get the opportunity to hatch.
Remember if you are walking the beach at night to avoid using a flashlight or the light of a cellphone as these do interfere with the nesting process. The best way to see a loggerhead is to attend one of the turtle walks hosted by the Edisto Beach State Park.
These walks take place every Tuesday and Thursday night in June and July. They are also available on six additional Saturdays June 13, 20, and 27 and July 11, 18, and 25. These guided walks are $10 for children ages 11-15 and $15 for all those 16 and up.
Advanced registration is required. Call 843-869-4430 to make reservations.