July through October is an amazing time on Fripp Island. During these four months, Loggerhead sea turtles begin to hatch. And while it is an amazing experience to witness them crawl towards the ocean, we need to strive to keep our beaches as natural as possible. Therefore, we ask that all lights be turned off in homes after 10pm and no flashlights be used while walking the beach at night. Lights on the beach not only deter mother sea turtles from nesting on the beach, they can also scare or confuse hatchlings into moving away from the ocean.
Unfortunately, an incident occurred this morning before dawn in which some guests were shining their flashlights directly above a nest. They were asked to stop this for the sake of the turtles but continued to disrupt the babies emerging from the nest. Due to this irresponsible behavior, the Fripp Island Loggerhead Patrol discovered that every single hatchling that had emerged the night before went in the wrong direction and was eaten by ghost crabs. It needs to be reiterated that this behavior is not only irresponsible but also illegal, as every species of sea turtle is protected by national and international law. If you see any lights on after 10pm near the beach or see people disturbing nesting mothers or hatching babies, please call Fripp Island security at (843)-838-2334.
Want to Help?
If you want to help with the sea turtle conservation effort at Fripp Island, you can walk with the Fripp Island Loggerhead Patrol every morning at Beach Access 15 beginning at 6:15am. Additionally, guests can kick down sand castles prior to leaving the beach for the day. Sand castles and chairs provide additional obstacles for both mothers and hatchlings, so it is essential to have the beach as clear as possible. Please pick up your trash as well!
Lastly, if viewing sea turtles, there are some rules that need to be followed. If you witness a mother walking onto the beach to nest, please stay at least 20 feet away and do not move in front of her. Also, if you are lucky enough to see a mother at night, do not shine a light on her and instead rely on the moonlight to view her. The same rules apply to juveniles in terms of distance and lighting. However, if you see a hatchling moving away from the ocean, DO NOT pick it up, as it is against federal law to touch a sea turtle without the proper permit. If you see a hatchling and are worried about the direction in which it is moving, please call Fripp Island Security or the Activity Center at (843)-838-1516.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and have fun safely witnessing one of the most mysterious and beautiful creatures on earth!