Discover Topsail's Turtles with a Walk on the Beach
When you come to vacation at one of America's top beaches, what better thing to do than both enjoy a relaxing walk and see some sea side wildlife?
If you are on a beach vacation, then you must enjoy walks in the sand at sunrise, or at least at sunset, watching the light glowing deep within the ocean. And strolls at high noon, when the light shimmers over the ever forward moving waves.
Now, what do you see during walks on the beach?
Not flowers, usually. Shells, sure. But what about sea creatures? Of course you do! And those are the most fascinating. Have you ever discovered a starfish washed ashore? Or maybe a crab creeping about on the sand? A little snail inside one of the many intriguing shells you pick up on your daily jaunt? What about sea turtles?
Beach Walkers Wanted
The Topsail Island Sea Turtle Project is looking for volunteers to look for sea turtle nests throughout this spring and summer each morning during a walk of a mile or so. This is so that volunteers can facilitate the survival of the just-hatched sea turtles as they make their dangerous, crab infested trek from the safety of their nest to the edge of the ocean. So far this year there have been 90 turtle nests spotted. In each nest there is on average 120 eggs.
You just might be one of the lucky ones to spot a turtle nest on your morning walk!
Karen Beasley's Water Work
The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center is the proud volunteer organization that oversees these beach walks and friendly turtle hunts. If you go to the center itself, located along the aptly named Tortuga Lane in Surf City on Topsail Island, you can see for yourself the loving work that the center does. Along the tour you can even see the rehabilitating adult turtles. The center houses forty or so sick or injured sea turtles. Volunteers tend to, give medicine to, feed and provide clean water to all of them every day. The dedicated volunteers also eagerly inform visitors who come on the tour about the plight of the sea turtles and the extinction that threatens them.
Experience Nature First Hand
Not only can you visit and see the sea turtles at the rehabilitation center, you might also be able to catch a turtle release! Whenever one of the sick or injured turtles is rehabilitated the center's volunteers release it back to its natural habitat, the ocean. This joyous event can turn into quite a crowd-drawing celebration on Topsail! The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center's Facebook page provides updates on any upcoming turtle releases. You just might be lucky enough to be in Topsail during one of these exciting events!
If you want to get involved with conserving and protecting the sea turtle population while on vacation, one of the easiest ways you can make a difference is picking up any plastic that you find on the beach during one of your relaxing walks. Plastic, if eaten by turtles, can cause them to starve by making them feel full without providing any nutrition for them. Sadly, sea turtles often swallow balloons, pieces of plastic trash, and even lost coins.
So, when you stay with us in Topsail on your next vacation and take a walk on the beach, enjoy looking not only for crabs and shells, but also enjoy searching for signs of turtles while helping out with your own conservation efforts! You just might surprise yourself with what you find (if not a turtle, maybe some long forgotten treasure, since Topsail was an old pirate haunt).