Hurricane Isabel has stranded some newborn sea turtles who were on their way to North Carolina. Baby sea turtles usually have long trips within the first couple days after hatching, but there are a few on Hilton Head Island who are staying put until Isabel blows through.
"They're really trying hard to get somewhere and they're going nowhere fast, unfortunately for them," said Kim Washok-Jones of the Coastal Discovery Museum. "They're staying put for a while."
The babies hatched Tuesday, and are supposed to be part of an experiment with Duke University, but there's a problem. After spending the first few days of their lives in a tank at the museum, the little guys will go on a trip up to North Carolina, once the issue of a certain hurricane has been resolved.
"Because of Hurricane Isabel, the area has been evacuated in Beaufort [North Carolina], which is where Duke's marine lab is," explained Washok-Jones. "So they weren't able to come get these little hatchlings."\
The study they're supposed to be a part of is looking at hatchlings all along the Atlantic coast and seeing how temperature effects the gender of the turtles. This is one of the few batches of babies left on Hilton Head this year. "We have about a dozen nests left, so it is still important to make sure we keep those beaches dark for those hatchlings," said Washok-Jones.
The turtles should be picked up sometime next week. The Coastal Discovery Museum will start feeding them in a couple days, when they're ready to start eating.