There is a great deal of activity that happens on Jekyll Island when the sun goes down. This is particularly true on the beach from May through September. And much of it involves sea turtles.
Every summer, endangered loggerhead sea turtles come ashore at night. Actually, only female loggerheads crawl up the sandy beach with one purpose in mind- to make nests and lay eggs. Female sea turtles reach their reproductive maturity at about 30 years of age. Each turtle that nest on Jekyll Island is at least that old! The female will seek an appropriate location on the beach, dig a nest cavity with her rear flippers, deposit her eggs (approximately 80-120), then cover the nest before making her way back to the sea. She may repeat this several times during the next couple of months. Typically, loggerhead sea turtles lay their eggs only once every few years, so each egg is very precious to the survival of sea turtles.
Seeing this can be difficult, as it is all about being at the right place at the right time. The Jekyll Island Authority’s Georgia Sea Turtle Center (GSTC) performs turtle walks nearly every evening during the months of June and July. These walks begin with a presentation on turtles and nesting behavior at the center, followed by a one hour walk on the beach while looking for these nesting females.
While you are not guaranteed to see a sea turtle during your walk, it is always a fun and educational way to spend an evening. Even during walks that do not see a turtle, you still get a guided beach walk on this beautiful barrier island.
For more information or to make a reservation, please call the GSTC at (912)-635-4444 or visit our website at www.georgiaseaturtlecenter.org.