“We Have A Nest!”
It was Sunday, May 26, 2013, the day before Memorial Day. John and some friends were taking the boat to Mason’s Inlet to go surfing. He asked if I wanted to go, but I declined stating it was too cool and windy on the water for me; besides I had some dreaded shopping that I needed to do and did not want to spend Memorial Day doing that.
You can imagine my regret at declining John’s offer when I got his voicemail stating they had spotted a huge leatherback turtle in the ocean in front of Blockade Runner.
I called John back and asked detailed questions to which he had no, or vague, answers (such is the way with men). Then, all of a sudden, an excitement came over me that I can’t explain. I said, “John, I think that turtle is going to nest in zone 4 tomorrow morning on the day that we walk the beach! I’m so excited I think I’m going to cry.” (You see, the Blockade Runner is in zone 4 and that is the zone that John and I have been walking during our turtle walks for the last four years).
I spent the rest of the day feeling giddy and silly proclaiming that we were going to find a nest the next day. I called Nancy, our sea turtle project coordinator, to inquire if anyone else had reported seeing the leatherback off our coast. I told her that I was so excited that I couldn’t stand it and I thought the turtle would nest in our zone. I said I realized what the odds were, but I felt as hopeful as I had ever felt!
I prepared our turtle monitoring gear and headed for bed, again, telling John how excited I was. I watched the clock to make sure I put positive thoughts in the universe at exactly 11:11 (ones are meaningful for me, especially the sequence 111). I asked (well, nagged) John to do the same, and he did.
After a night of excited and restless sleep, we arose at 5:10, donned our turtle nest tracking gear and headed across the drawbridge for Wrightsville Beach.
On this morning, we chose to park at the north end of our zone because it is the access that is closest to Blockade Runner. There was a chill in the air as we removed our flip flops to begin walking up access 32. The sky was stunning in oranges and pinks, just before the sun revealed itself for the day(---what a dramatic entrance the sun makes each day—maybe we should all greet the day like the sun---). Anyway, back to access 32... the sand was very cold beneath our feet. In fact, I told John that my feet were beginning to feel numb and jokingly said that I didn’t know if I could walk the whole zone with numb feet. John said, “Come on, you have to find your turtle nest.”
With that statement, my excitement returned; although, I realized we may not find tracks. I took out the camera and did a photo shoot of the sunrise, picked up trash, took a picture of John walking under the moon, stopped and picked up more trash, and then I heard John say, “Giiingeerrrr!” I lifted my head, turned around and looked at him and saw what he saw---the most amazing set of turtle tracks ever!!!! We followed them with our eyes right up to the disturbed sand that indicated a nest!!!!!
No, they were not leatherback tracks, but I was not disappointed! In fact, I could not contain myself. There was so much energy pulsing through my body that I felt I was wiggling from head to toe! I squealed and jumped and hugged John and just had a sea turtle fit! I am not ashamed to admit it! John kissed me and told me to call Nancy while he walked the rest of the zone.
I called Nancy at 5:48AM to tell her the wonderful news. I told her we had a nest and waited with eager anticipation for her response. She said,
“No you don’t!”
“Yes, we do!”
“Ginger, you are kidding.”
“No, I’m not. We have a nest! It is not a leatherback—it’s a loggerhead, but we have a nest!”
I was so giddy, I sat down and fell on my side in the sand, right there on Wrightsville Beach, under the moon and witnessed by the rising sun!
Yes, we had a nest!
Nest #1 for Wrightsville Beach and nest #11 for North Carolina. (look at all those ones—111).
In that moment, I felt connected to all things good, joyful and light. I am thankful for that.
Then our friends came from their zones and celebrated with us because they had already heard the news as though it had been delivered by the ocean breeze. Nancy, Dick, Linda, Dr. Doss, Chris, a new friend, Michelle and her husband John, my John and me—we all welcomed this nest to our beach. We celebrated with the heavens, and with the oceans, and with the earth!