Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hurricane Ike clears the beach. Gulf Shores, Alabama

Here we have a 40 second video of waves generated by Hurricane Ike which is currently 358 miles due south. This video was taken from Sea Stars Cottage upper deck, between squalls. I estimate winds here to be between 30 and 55 mph. The winds are battering at times. Ike is a loose cannon.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The "scout" is out!

The "scout" emerged at 6 p.m. Around 7 p.m., 3 more hatchlings emerged and sat atop the nest for about an hour. Just after dark there was a small "boil" and 58 vigorous hatchlings trucked on down the trench to sea. Because the moon was bright and the Gulf clear, we could see the babies get the hang of swimming and take off like shooting stars, an *awesome* sight in the true sense of the word. Sometime after 9 p.m., 76 hatchlings made the trek to sea with only 1 slowpoke, which Priscilla coddled all the way along the long crawl. Once making water this last baby also swam off powerfully.
We welcome WBB homeowners Michael and Julie Reilly to our Turtle Family.

Between Storms, a day off for the deserving-

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Laguna Key "Share the Beach" Team Loggerhead Nest Update

Nest B-1 total 114 eggs, survival rate 90.35%
103 to sea
10 infertile
1 dead embryo

Nest B-2 total 129 eggs, survival rate 98.4%
103 to sea
24 alive in nest and released
1 dead pipped egg
1 depredated

Nest B-3 total 106 eggs, survival rate 96.2%
102 escaped to sea
4 infertile

Nest B-4 total 113 eggs. survival rate 98.23%
109 escaped to sea
2 alive in nest and released
2 infertile

Nest B-5 total 89 eggs, survival rate 92.1%
82 to sea
7 infertile

Nest B-6 total 101 eggs, survial rate 51.5%
52 to sea
49 infertile

Nest B-7 total 73 eggs
70 to sea
2 drowned in shell
1 infertile

Nest B-8 total eggs 141
136 to sea
1 dead embryo
4 infertile

B-9 due
117 to sea

B-10 due (55 days)9/17

B-11 Inundated by Hurricane Gustav waters survival rate 0%
B-12 Inundated by high waters caused by Hurricane Gustav, 0% survival rate

We have now seen 900 hatchlings to sea. We are shooting for 1,000. With 1 nest remaining, with 120+ eggs, our goal is possible if we manage +90% survival.

Sea Stars Cottage Beach After Gustav

Our *front yard* following Gustav held very well. Kudos to Capn Howell and Pompano Jerry for initiating the fence and fertilizing program.
There was a loggerhead sea turtle nest positioned just to the left of the path. High waves breached our berm just after midnight (9/1/08 a.m.). Capn Howell had been checking every little while all evening. He had pounded a board "breaker" into the sand in front of the nest and piled sandbags around it but there is no holding back water powered by a hurricane.
As the nest caved in, (keep in mind we were in the dark, the rain and the waves roiling up carried all sorts of large and dangerous debris)and as the eggs were drenched in sea water, the eggs began to burst and hatchings boiled half hatched in a desperate attempt to survive. We had no time to get permissions to save them, we just did. More on that later.

Gulf Shores Beach following Hurricane Gustav

Pictured above is a place down the road where, unfortunately, one of our sea turtle nests was inundated with water and destroyed. The salt water also "burns" the seaoats as you can tell by the yellow color. Here we noticed some green at the base of some plants so they will survive.

Our front yard prior to winds and high waters of Hurricane Gustav

The berm you see pictured here seperates our front yard from the lower level beach. This berm was part of the rehabilitation of our beach that was wiped out with the devasting Hurricane Ivan, not to mention a few storms that followed, like Katrina. The seaoats here were planted just last year, except for a few native plants that we were able to save from construction sites. Seaoats have a fantastic net-like root system that binds and holds the sand. For this reason, "picking" seaoats is a fineable offense.
Our dune has had more sand build up for a couple of reasons. 1. Note Capn Howell's cross hatched placement of the sand/snow fence. This has definately been a successful experiment in the attempt to catch a little more of that blowing sand. 2. Our thick and dark green plants have been fertilized in an interesting way that harkens back to our Original People's days. Pompano Jerry has *planted* the inedible remains of fish. "Pompano Jerry's Surf Fishing Classes" have not only provided some good eatin', but have yielded some terrific natural fertilizer.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Gustav Approaches the Gulf Coast

Jack Jack takes a last run in the building waves before taking shelter from the storm. We continue to anxiously watch the radar during the tropical storm season!