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First sea turtle nest of the season hatches on NMB coast - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

First sea turtle nest of the season hatches on NMB coast

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NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – It only took a matter of minutes and baby sea turtles were everywhere on the stretch of beach in front of the 50th Avenue North beach access in North Myrtle Beach. While it only took a few minutes for them to scurry out of the nest, it was a project 60 days in the making.

This nest was the very first nest for the group of volunteers.

"It was about a quarter to nine or nine o'clock and I looked and I saw just a tiny little hole," said Linda Mataya, leader of the North Myrtle Beach Sea Turtle Patrol. "I quietly called some people over and by the time they got over to the nest sand had actually dropped and several turtles were crawling out. It was instantaneous."

Members of the group started watching the nest around the clock in the days leading up to the emergence.

"My first night at the nest gave me insight on how this whole process started. Around midnight a female loggerhead crawled on the beach looking for a place to lay her eggs," said WMBF Storm Team Meteorologist Marla Branson, noting the old girl weighed around 200 pounds. "She decided this wasn't the time or place for her to nest, but not before she gave us quite a show."

When the nest hatched the next night, Branson said it was obvious why they call it a boil.

"The turtles looked almost like they were helping each other spill out of the nest," she said. "The journey to the water was a rather quick one, considering they are turtles."

Watching one make it to the surf was one of the most rewarding parts for a lot of the volunteers.

"When they hit the water, their whole demeanor changes and they dive under and they are gone," Mataya said. "It is just amazing."

For more on Marla's sea turtle adventure, visit www.wmbfseaturtletracker.blogspot.com.

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