Hobe Sound Nature Center offers turtle walks at least twice a week during turtle nesting season

HOBE SOUND, Fla. - Scouts scan Hobe Sound Public Beach for turtle tracks or actual turtles emerging from the ocean Friday night.

Meanwhile, turtle walkers wait under the pavilion, wanting the chance to watch a loggerhead turtle shuffle onto the sand and lay her eggs.

There are no guarantees the eager guests will see a turtle. However, if they do, Hobe Sound Nature Center director Debbie Fritz-Quincy says, it will be a magical sight.

"It doesn't seem to matter how old the people are, people really respond," said Fritz-Quincy.

Here's how she says nesting works:

The 200-plus pound loggerhead finds a comfy spot on the beach, usually between the high tide line and the dune. She digs an egg chamber a couple feet deep. Then, she lays her eggs, which usually takes about an hour.

Scott Olson, a local on his third walk, admires, "The prehistoric beauty of it that they're so ungainly when they come out of the water, but they have a mission and they do their thing."

It appeared the turtle walkers may go home disappointed, until around midnight. A trusty scout spotted a turtle, and everyone carefully huddled around her.

A special red light illuminated her small, white eggs dropping into the chamber. She kicked up sand with her flippers and carefully covered them. Both children and adults asked questions and marveled at the sight.

If you spot a nesting turtle coming ashore, Fritz-Quincy says don't touch or shine a light on her. Just enjoy the sight, and give her space.

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