Rising Seas

Clear ocean waters lapping gently on the wide, white sand beach stretching out as far as you can see. Palm fronds swaying in the gentle breezes, as you look out across the crystal clear blue waters.

Slipping into the cool waters we snorkel along the edge of the reefs drinking in the beauty. Sea turtles gliding effortlessly stopping to grab a bite to eat along the edge of the coral when the mood strikes them.

Later, as we walk along the beach, we come across sea turtle tracks showing us the way to where her future is buried, waiting for the day when they will join her in the vast ocean.

Dreaming of the wonders that await them and of the day they will return to lay eggs of their own to perpetuate the species.

As the years pass the water continues to rise, and the storms continue to grow stronger due to the effects of climate change.

The once wide, white sand beaches have been reduced to a narrow strip of sand. Seawalls protect the property built along the once pristine beach predicting the future.

Full of life they arrive at the beach where they were born in hopes of bringing forth the next generation, some for the first time since they were born some 17 years ago.

The conditions that so many of them encounter are heartbreaking. Yet they try to make the best of a bad situation.

As the beaches erode the returning sea turtles must travel further inland toward the road and beach side communities.

There they find trash just dumped by humans, construction waste, storm debris and abandoned fishing gear that had washed up on the shore.

Those who are lucky enough to find a spot of soft sand, end up laying their nest at the end of a board walk where human activity has stripped away the grass.

Or under a tree where the surface dirt has been stripped away leaving the soft sand that lay beneath.

Or up against the edge of an eroded dune where the sand is covered with dead limbs and other forms of tree waste.

One female loggerhead, desperate to lay her eggs on the beach where she was born, finally managed to climb the last section of all that was left of the original sandy beach. Pressed against the sea wall the sand was nearly as wide as she was and barely able to support her weight. After a tense night she was successful and headed back to sea hopeful for the future of her offspring.

Seven days later, her hopes and dreams were shattered. All it took was a basic thunderstorm passing by during a high tide to totally remove what sandy beach remained and destroy most of the nests along this section.

Time is running out! Rising sea levels are causing extensive beach erosion and our sea turtles' birthing and nesting environments are rapidly disappearing.

The time for action is now: we have no more time to waste. Every tenth of an inch of sea water rise means thousands of sea turtles will never be born to see the light of day and their species' extinction will happen sooner than you realize.

Roy founded a sea turtle patrol group on the gulf coast of the Florida panhandle that was part of the FWC Marine Turtle Nesting Program. Over the years, as he performed turtle patrol duties, he watched as the beach continued to erode and the sea turtles found it increasingly harder to find a place to lay their eggs.

The photographs contained in this documentary were all taken by him along the several mile section of beach he patrolled.

Turtle Dreams ~ Rising Seas

A Ferret Fred Production

Produced by Roy DuVerger

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