Visitors to Amelia Island frequently ask if they can watch turtles nest or watch hatchlings come out of the nest. Only on a very rare occasion can people witness either of these remarkable events.
We do not conduct turtle walks to observe nesting. Amelia Island does not have the nesting density of south Florida beaches, not to mention the fact that turtles nest anytime from sunset to sun up.
The same is true for hatchling emergences. Baby turtles hatch from the egg anywhere from 1-3 days before emerging from the nest and crawling to the sea.
Incubation is not exact. There is a 10 day window in which hatchlings will emerge from a nest. Again, this can happen anytime from sunset to sun up.
So what CAN visitors experience? Three days after we discover that a nest has emerged and hatchlings have crawled to the sea, permitted volunteers will "excavate" the nest. This is simply an inventory of all the remaining nest contents: unhatched eggs, shards (empty egg shells), dead hatchlings, and yes, sometimes even live hatchlings. This event is open to the public. Volunteers will share with spectators the history of that particular nest and general sea turtle facts. If live hatchlings are found, we will release them at that time for the public to see.
Excavations will begin in early-mid July and will continue until all the nests have hatched and emerged. You can click on the Excavation Schedule page for times and locations.