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June 4, 2010 Update

posted: June 25, 2011, 2:16 PM

Turtle Talk, the Holden Beach Turtle Watch educational program kicked off this week with an audience of 72 turtle fans. This great beginning saw lots of new red shirted volunteers assisting the experienced team members.

Project coordinator, Skip Hager reported that there are lots of jelly fish and Man-of-War (which is a jelly fish like marine invertebrate) in the water. He cautioned audience members to be careful not to come in contact with them as they sting and are very painful to humans. However, these big blue balloon-type jelly fish are good for our Loggerhead turtles who like to eat them.

The skin of the turtle is too thick for the Portuguese Man of War sting to penetrate and launch its venom. Their digestive system is adapted to handling this kind of food. Can you see why if a turtle saw a blue balloon in the water he might think it is a jellyfish and eat it? Then his stomach would always seem full so he wouldn't eat any more. Then he would die, so please don’t release balloons.

Skip also cautioned those on the beach about the risks of digging large holes and sand caves. These are risky. Children have died when sand caves and tunnels have collapsed trapping them inside.

The number of turtle nests for our beach is increasing. On Thursday June 2 we had two nests, followed by one on Friday and another on Saturday. This brings our total to five which is right about average for Holden Beach this time of year. All four of these nests were moved to a safer location.

Special thanks to vacationers who saw a large turtle on the beach about 10 p.m. on Friday night and called our turtle pager. This momma was fast and was almost done laying her eggs when the stranding team got there. The team marked the spot where the momma turtle had been and this assisted the ATV rider and the team moving the eggs on Saturday morning.

A word of warning. There is a new regulation on Holden Beach this year. All unattended personal items (chairs, cabanas, flags, volleyball nets, etc.) must be removed from the beach each evening by 6 p.m. Unattended items will be confiscated by the police. These items can be hinder a mother turtle and can be risky for people walking the beach at night and the ATV rider in the early morning. Please heed this new beach regulation. For more information on this go to the Holden Beach Town website.

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