Slow and steady wins the race, but that’s only true when the turtles are not in danger. One of the things we are very passionate about in New Smyrna Beach is our sea turtle population. We all like to visit New Smyrna Beach, and great minds think alike because the sea turtles feel that way too. Hundreds of sea turtles will emerge from the sea to nest and lay their eggs on the beach shortly. New Smyrna Beach sea turtle nesting season runs May 1st through October.
Here’s what happens. After a two-month incubation period in the clean, white sands of New Smyrna Beach, the tiny sea turtle hatchlings will break free of their shells – an arduous task in itself – and begin making their way to their new ocean home. Sounds good, right? It does, but there are certain things that can curtail the little turtles’ trek…like dodging predators, holes and trash, and being led astray by artificial light.
So, our motto here in New Smyrna Beach is to respect our wildlife by leaving the beach the way you found it; and as some would say, “Let the night provide the light.” During sea turtle nesting season, we like to follow certain very important rules.
Artificial light can prevent mama sea turtles from nesting and disorient baby sea turtles on their journey to the sea, so during sea turtle nesting season in New Smyrna Beach, we turn off, shield or redirect any lights that shine on the beach, we don’t use flash photography or fireworks (which are prohibited on the beach anyway) and we don’t use our cellphones to light our way on the beach at night.
We never disrupt the sea turtles by touching or disturbing their nests. Instead, we admire these special creatures quietly and from afar. We never disturb the dunes or sea plants at this time of year either, only walking and driving on the beach in clearly marked, designated access spots.
And when we leave the beach, we make certain that it looks exactly the way it did when we came – with no sandcastles, holes, beach furniture or other potential obstacles left behind. We are also very careful to properly dispose of trash so as not to attract any predators of our treasured turtles.