Turning of the Tide

Early morning at Garris Landing; you have to be early if you are heading out to Cape island with the loggerhead program crew. I was earlier than the rest of the crew, and found the automatic gate to the landing closed. I parked and walked in to take a look at the 5:30AM sky. In the east Jupiter and Venus shone brightly Continue reading

Puzzle of the Cape Islands

Once again, an annual ritual had arrived – the building of sea turtle hatcheries, sized for loggerhead turtle hatchlings, on Cape Island. I accompanied a mixed crew of US Fish and Wildlife staff and volunteers led by the manager of Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, Sarah Dawsey, on the “Pacman” through the marshes and bays of Cape Romain to Cape Island. Pacman is a craft Continue reading

Flattening of an island

Dread, excitement, a mixed stew of anticipation – of what? I had heard the initial observations from Billy Shaw who had traveled over to Cape Island the previous day with Cape Romain’s refuge manager Sarah Dawsey. The report was staggering – perhaps 200 loggerhead nests lost. It was news feared by those associated with the loggerhead program, and by friends of this sea turtle everywhere who know the importance of this island to the species. So on this Sunday morning, August 28, a day and a half after the passing of Hurricane Irene up the coast (in fact at that exact time hitting the New Jersey shore), I headed over with Billy and two other staff to Cape to help “pick up the pieces”. Continue reading

Tale of two islands

Bull Island, July 17, 2011.     I took the Coastal Expeditions ferry Island Cat on the trip over to the Northeast Point of Bull Island, along with about forty others on the ferry and another ten on board a skiff. This trip was a special fundraiser for the Sewee Association. I went along to give an interpretive walk in the AM, to be repeated for a second group in the afternoon. We rode above the marsh at high tide, Continue reading

Greeting on Cape Island

The building of hatcheries for loggerhead turtle nests on Cape Island has been an annual event in April that I have experienced since 2005. This year’s crew brought a number of years of experience, not just from the USFWS staff but also the volunteers. It was led again by wildlife biologist Sarah Dawsey, now in the role of manager of Cape Romain National WIldlife Refuge. The projection of number of nests for this year Continue reading

Moments under a July moon

Cape Island called again, as it often has for me. Four nights were set aside for loggerhead program staff and volunteers to spend the night on the island monitoring the nighttime happenings of loggerheads: both females nesting, and nests hatching out. The daily daytime work of staff and volunteers misses the night action where turtles operate on the beaches.  The turtle nights seem to distill the essence of sea turtles everywhere Continue reading


I was off my usual track to Bull Island for a trip out to Cape Island on July 4th. I am an irregular volunteer for the loggerhead program on Cape, mainly putting in time each year to build the hatcheries. Having been offered the opportunity to get out during the nesting season, I used my one day weekend to do what some volunteers do weekly on Cape Island: locate nests, Continue reading

Earth Day

Alert readers noted in the previous entry “Opening up” that I observed my first loggerhead turtle of the year sailing out into Bulls Bay on April 11. I had several more sightings this past Thursday, April 22, 2010, Earth Day. It was our first day of building hatcheries on Cape Island, led by Sarah Dawsey, wildlife biologist of Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, Continue reading