Dark. Clean. Flat.
Are you familiar with how to vacation in Destin/30A during turtle season? Have you heard of the tagline, “Dark. Clean. Flat?” Informing yourself will help Destin/30A locals protect and keep our wildlife safe and thriving.
In addition to our well-known visitors this season, we also expect very special appearances from some tiny little reptiles. As Florida gets warmer, female sea turtles crawl out of the water to build nests and lay eggs on the beach at night. Babies hatch some 60 days later and crawl back into the sea. Only an estimated one in 1,000 turtles survives to adulthood, according to the Sea Turtle Conservancy. Ensuring that we leave nothing but footprints on our white sand beaches will help ensure that these baby turtles survive the fragile nesting and hatching process.
The majority of nesting in Florida occurs between May 1st and October 31st. According to Sea Turtle experts, the only reason for a sea turtle to come out of the water is to nest. However, experts add that approximately 50% of the time a female turtle returns to the Gulf without laying a nest. These are referred to as “false crawls.” She uses valuable energy needed for nesting—which is it is so very important to keep the beach DARK, CLEAN and FLAT.
What Can We Do to Encourage Sea Turtles to Lay Eggs on our Destin/30A Beaches?
- Keep it DARK – It is important to minimize artificial beach lighting during the sea turtle nesting season.
- Keep the beach CLEAN – Leave the beach as you found it or better!
- Keep it FLAT – Fill in your holes. It can trap momma sea turtles coming to nest and hatchlings trying to navigate their way to the water.
It’s a crime in Florida to disturb sea turtle nests or harass turtles. Visitors should keep their distance, staying behind any turtle they might see, and must not shine lights in nesting areas, including flashlights, cellphone lights or camera lights. Some beaches turn off artificial lights to promote nesting activity. If you are booking a stay with a rental vacation home, book with Five Star Properties or Bliss Beach Rentals. All of their homes use lights on their homes that are turtle-safe and ensure that nesting and hatching processes are unharmed. We want to ensure ALL of our beach visitors are safe and protected. Do your part and keep the beach DARK. CLEAN. and FLAT.
AP Photo/Lynne Sladky