Saturday morning began before dawn. Our family had a sleepover at my parents’ place for good reason: We had a sea turtle nest excavation to attend! Thanks to one of my dad’s friends who volunteers with the Sea Turtle Patrol, we knew the excavation would occur around 6:30 a.m. on Saturday.
(One of my new favorite pics of the boys. Check out that sky! And their pajamas — our favorite super-soft jammies we have for all the boys as well as my nieces — are linked here.)
Rhett was already awake (gotta love a kid who is ready to party by 6 a.m.) and Chase and Ryder had no trouble jumping out of bed before dawn when we told them it was turtle time!
We made our way out to the beach just in time for the excavation to begin.
The whole process was incredible to watch. One of the volunteers began gently digging and we were immediately shocked by how deep the nest was in the sand. I’d guess it was a little less than 2 feet deep and the nest contained more than 100 eggs!
The eggs hatched three days prior to the excavation and we watched as the volunteers counted 116 successful hatches, one baby that sadly did not make it all the way out of its shell (a “dead pip”) and three eggs that did not hatch. After recording their data, the volunteers buried everything back in the sand and let the boys do a “turtle dance” on top of the sand before the excavation was complete.
Creature Man Chase was in his element!
We stayed at the excavation as long as possible until the skies opened up and we made a mad-dash for shelter. Once everyone was dressed and ready to tackle the day ahead, we filled the rest of our morning with quick workouts, doughnuts from Mini Bar and lots of time at the beach and pool.
My parents, sister and her family joined us for beach and pool fun and it was an awesome morning by the ocean! The weather looked like it was going to pour at any minute all around us but we were in an odd little sunny spot and made the most of our break in the rain!
Rhett inherited a hole two other kids dug after they left and could not get enough of it! (Worth noting in a blog post mentioning sea turtles is how important it is to fill in any holes you dig before you leave the beach for a myriad of reasons but also to help keep sea turtles safe!) Rhett jumped in and out of his hole more than 20 times and ended up lasting the longest of all the kids at the beach!
Chase and Ryder were more interested in the boogie boards and “surfing” the waves and Ryan, my dad and I couldn’t resist riding some of the waves as well. It was truly awesome weather for it and the waves were big enough for boogie boarding without feeling too rough and choppy.
My parents have long said the ocean offers a “salt water cure” of sorts and I wholeheartedly agree. It’s been too long since I’ve spent an extended period of time playing in the waves and it was a blast!
We wrapped up our beach time with a dip in the pool before it was time for lunch and naps for the youngest members of our crew. While four of the five kids napped, the rest of us hung out and enjoyed some downtime before everyone was awake. We spent the rest of the evening digging into enchiladas at my parents’ place with my sister and her family before making our way back to our rental home.
Sunday the weather looked like rain but we majorly lucked out with sunny skies all day long! Ryan and my dad began the day with a 45-mile bike ride and left just before 7 a.m. Ryan is just beginning to get back into training for his second Half Ironman and since my dad bikes three times a week, Ryan was happy to have someone more experienced to ride with on Sunday morning.
They finished their ride as the rest of us were arriving home from church and we met back up for several hours of beach time before calling it a day and heading back to our rental house around 5 p.m. I unintentionally kept my camera/phone tucked away for most of the day on Sunday so I don’t have much to show for our day but sometimes I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all.
I hope to have another blog post or two up this week for you guys but until then it’s time for me to hang with the boys and reapply sunscreen 10 times a day during our Florida stay! Have a great Monday!
What church did you attend?
What translation of the Bible do you read now?
I remember you mentioning a while back about a Bible you used to love using…?
I am trying to get back into reading the Bible again.
That first pic of your boys running to the beach on the foot bridge is frame-worthy!
One of my new favorites! Thank you!
Donna Mason says
Julie I couldn’t be happier for all of you to be spending this glorious time with all of your family. It is the perfect Florida summer for you guys! Enjoy every precious moment!!!!!
Thank you so much, Donna! We are definitely enjoying this time with family!
You sea turtle experience is so cool! I’m so jealous I’ve always wanted to experience that. The boys must have loved it! Just wanted to let you know the ebook of the happy ever after playlist is on sale for 2.99 this week and I think it’s time for you to dive in! My absolute fave this year Jodi Picoult’s wish you were here is on sale for 2.99 too. As well as the maid by Nita prose which is a fun mystery.
Thank you, thank you! I just started a new book but I will keep these on my radar!
Your comment about the “salt water cure” reminded me of one of my absolute favorite quotes, & I think you’ll agree on a few levels!
“The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea.” Isak Dinesen
I love that one, too!!!
What an amazing experience! We live in the west side of Jax, but would totally do that if it was a little closer to us.
We’re a major doughnut family – have you been to Good Dough or Shipley Donuts? We’ve actually never done Minibar, even though it’s been on my list the 5 years we’ve lived here.
My nephew has attended turtle camp at Marine Land several times. I don’t know the details, but it might be worth looking into for next summer.
Oh my gosh, I bet the boys would LOVE this!