My lovefest with Loggerhead Sea Turtles continues this week at the table. . .
Our family vacation to Harbor Island was most memorable due to all the turtle activity this year. . .
By the end of our week’s stay, the 3 mile-stretch-of-beach, had a recorded number of 64 turtle nests~ closing in on the record of 66 nests set in 1999~ twice as many than in 2010.
Since we’ve returned the number of nests has surpassed the record set in 1999~ bringing the nest count up to 67!
The greatest threat to Loggerhead Turtles is loss of nesting habitat due to coastal development, predation of nests, and human disturbances (such as coastal lighting and housing developments) that cause disorientation during the emergence of hatchlings.
Other major threats include incidental capture in longline fishing, shrimp trawling and pollution. All shrimp boats in South Carolina are equipped with turtle excluder devices (TED).
I found turtle chocolate molds from Amazon, that I used to mold brown sugar~
Despite the threat to our waistlines~ white & dark chocolate hatchlings emerged to accompany chocolate & real shells on a brown sugar beach.
The turtle hatchlings are as challenged climbing the frosted cupcake as they are making their way to the ocean~
I’m afraid these particular hatchlings’ days are numbered. . .
I used Shell molds from Wilton to sculpt sand shells & fill with chocolate~
Approximately 25 volunteers participate in the Harbor Island Turtle Project, searching each morning at sunrise for turtle tracks and nests. All nests are monitored until they hatch and data is submitted to the SC Department of Natural Resources and SeaTurtle.org
The nest is probed to locate the eggs. The sand is removed to confirm that eggs have been laid. If the nest is in a safe location, the sand is replaced and the nest is marked.
The eggs are then placed in a new hole that has been dug to the same depth as the original nest. The nest is staked and covered with a protective barrier net.
After 45 to 75 days the eggs hatch. The babies stay in the sand for several days before emergence. A characteristic indentation is visible when the babies have hatched and are beginning to dig their way to the surface.
The baby turtles usually come out or “boil” in the middle of the night.
A nest is inventoried three days after evidence of a “boil”. The hatched shells and the unhatched eggs are counted. If any of the unhatched eggs are considered viable, they are reburied.
Occasionally, there are stragglers found in the nest when it is inventoried. These babies are placed on the beach so that they will find their own way to the water.
We were thrilled to be able to watch the release of 8 stragglers early one morning~ a first for us. . .
You can’t help but cheer them on, keeping your fingers crossed, knowing how many predators~birds, crabs & fish~ they are up against.
It is estimated that only 1 in 1000 hatchlings make it to adulthood~ with mature females returning, sometimes over thousands of miles, to the beach where they hatched to lay their eggs.
Female Loggerheads lay 4 to 7 nests per season, typically about 14 days apart.
These little turtle napkin rings had just hatched from a UPS box during my visit there~
I snapped them up to protect them from any predators that might be lurking and released them onto my table :-)
Crabs, ants, raccoons, foxes, and birds target turtle eggs and hatchlings. If they are lucky enough to reach adulthood, sea turtles are relatively immune to natural predation, except for the occasional shark attack.
Dogs can be a threat to turtles nests, digging for eggs, if unsupervised on the beach~
Unsupervised dogs can also be a threat to unsuspecting starfish for tablescapes. . .
Loggerhead table details:
Ivory Chargers/Plates- Pier 1
Hurricanes, Shell Bowls, Dinner Plates, Placemats – Kohl’s
Napkins- Pottery Barn, last year
Turtle Napkin Rings – shop in St. Helena, SC
Flatware, Woven Chargers – World Market
I don’t know what I love more, Mary….the soft, serene colors of this table, the fantastic textures you’ve gathered OR that beautiful backdrop scene!
We learned all about turtle nest protection while living in FL. All the lights along the beach in Venice are painted black on the Gulf side, so as not to confuse the hatchlings. I’m happy to hear the population is increasing on Harbor Island.
Loved your tour of Beaufort, South Carolina, too! We’ve been there only once but still fondly remember the lunch we shared with friends while sitting by the water. Magnificent area!
Mary, another gorgeous table in your idyllic setting. Thanks for all the info on the sea turtles.. so much to learn! Love your sugar sand.. what a great idea!! Your turtle napkin rings are perfect. I could go on and on gushing about everything on your table.. It is fabulous!
Another wonderful tablescape plus educational information about the loggerhead turtles!
In Hawai’i we have the green sea turtles that come to Punalu’u Black Sand Beach to nest and it is an amazing sight to see them come up and lay their eggs. Unfortunately, it is not only preadators among the rest of the critters that are their enemy, but some of the two-legged human variety also by tourists and others who don’t pay attention where they walk on the beach…I get so frustrated sometimes and despair by the attitude of some humans who just don’t seem to care!
Amazing colors and textures. Gorgeous images!!
Fascinating facts along with beautiful vignette photos.
Another fabulous table! My son lives in Ft. Lauderdale and they cover the lights for the hatchlings also. I just LOVE your style! The brown sugar “sand” is something I hope you don’t mind that I will try! LOVE these dishes too. I ahve seen them at Kohl’s ans never bought them and I regret that:):) LOVE the candle holders too! Your VIEW id=s gorgeous. Also, may I ask what brand your table and chairs are? I love the wicker look and the fact that you can keep it out in the elements! Thanks so much! XO, Pinky
What a wonderfully beautiful table! I just can’t wait every week for what table magic you will perform! Everything in this post lends itself to the central beachy/ turtle theme! You have quite the collection!
Loved every sandy/sweet minute!
Your tablescape is amazing, Mary. Such beautiful shades of Tiffany blue and the brown sugar sand is a fun accent with all the chocolate turtles.
It’s so wonderful to read about the work of the Harbor Island Turtle Project, helping the Loggerhead Turtles survive!
Love everything about this table – the theme, the colors, the shell dishes! Love learning about the Loggerhead Turtles!
What a beautifully set table and pretty dishes. Very interesting about the loggerhead turtles and their nesting habits. It must have been exciting to see them released to find their way to the water. Have a wonderful day!
You’ve made so many clever choices for this tablescape. The brown sugar beach and the brown sugar turtles are stunningly wonderful! The colors and textures capture the celebration of the hatching turtles perfectly. Thank you for sharing your beautiful design. Cherry Kay
Your table is gorgeous – as always – but I’m totally loving the touches of brown sugar and all of those goodies.
– The Tablescaper
What beautiful colors and textures you’ve put together for us. I’ve enjoyed learning about the turtles. I’ll certainly share this with my grandson.
Wow! Love all the sea elements on the table and the dessert looks scrumptious. Beautiful view! I could linger here forever…Christine
Mary, We stay at St.George Island on the Gulf Coast every year and they have the same turtle protection plan. At night there are no outside lights and it is a wonderful time to view the Milky Way and enjoy the constellations which in the city we seldom can see. Thanks for detailed info on turtle hatching.
You are so clever and creative with the brown sugar sand and chocolate turtles. I could bite into one right now. Every element adds to the enjoyment of the tablescape. I could drink in the view!
I love the tablescape and the turtles! I would love to know what you were serving…besides brown sugar, chocolates and cupcakes? Sounds like my kind of meal!
Love the pretty colors of your table Mary and I’m afraid the chocolate turtles wouldn’t stand a chance around me:@)
Very clever, Mary! That brown sugar had me fooled at first! I think it’s cool that so many of the turtle nests survived this year…one good thing to come out of this summer given the horrid weather so many have experienced! Beautiful table!!!!!!
been at the beach all week, so sad to have to come home, but seeing this has let me slip back to that blue state of mind :) i got turtle love too, another fantastic fabulous fantasty fun folly! you are so clever with that brown sugar, i gotta get me some, where i live it turns to concrete instantly, at the beach i bet i could mold away for hours.
girl you know i love all you do, its always a favortie place to pop in because you dazzle!
its been two weeks and we were hading for the beach with my mom and my 5 year old daughter and today we have a very rainy day and will coninue to next week, so your beautiful table makes my day, I even showed it to my daughter she loved it too.
Brown sugar very clever and the cholate turtles love it too.
Thank you for sharing
Karin Şen Cankan
Not only quite clever — aldo quite educational. We go to Sanibel in May and see some of the protected areas. Love your sweet chocolate turtles too.
This was such a beautiful and informative table. I have been down in Mexico where they have a turtle farm and watched the turles go into the ocean. Indeed, it is amazing that they survive. What a fun table with the molded turtles and the cupcake — so much fun and creativity. Joni
Beautiful pics! We were just at Seaside, FL and your pics make me want to head back right now! I’m in love with shells!
What a lovely and informative post. Seriously, I would like you to adopt me. Having a meal at one of your lovely tables is on my bucket list.
BEAUTIFUL!!!!! I have never seen brown sugar used as sand. I love that idea. I always see crushed graham crackers but brown sugar is so perfect. I also loved how you used the brown sugar to make sand molds! VERY CREATIVE! Thanks!
Your talent and creativity never cease to amaze me! This table is wonderful! I love the pretty napkins, the unique napkin rings, and the bubble-glass goblets. Your candle holders are lovely and so are your dishes. But I think my favorite is what you’ve done with the turtle and shell-shaped chocolate molds. The brown sugar looks just like sand and the chocolate — just lucious. I thoroughly enjoyed looking at the pretty table, and your information on loggerhead turtles is wonderful. The beach that we vacation at every year is small and not very crowded, and they also have a sea turtle sanctuary. They are such amazing creatures. Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend!
Denise at Forest Manor
What an incredible table!
The story of the turtles is quite amazing. Some creatures must go through much just to survive!
I love the tablescape and the turtle cupcakes. I’m actually making some turtle decorations today to adorn cupcakes for the first day of school. I work at a school named Turtle Bay and I thought turtle cupcakes were appropriate for the first day. :) I also have one plate and one shell bowl like yours. I wish I had a whole set but I bought one plate for a platter in a photo shoot It makes for an awesome table. I’ll have to check out those shell molds too. Thanks for such a fun post!
That is an awesome post. I live in the South Padre Island area and got to see a Kemp’s Ridley hatchling release. It was one of the highlights of my life! Your tablescape is just incredible. I saw your cupcakes on Sweets for a Saturday. Thanks for sharing!
Wonderful post. I would love to see those baby turtles hatch and make it to the sea. Since I probably won’t, I’d love a little taste of yours at that gorgeous table.
Oh, wonderful! I loved the tablescape and all your wonderful, fun work with the molds … talented. But most of all I loved all the information about the loggerheads. Well done!
How much fun to be able to watch the baby turtles on their journey to, hopefully, a very long life.
I was lucky enough to be able to purchase a ton of the Kohl’s sea themed dinnerware and I love it for summer. I wish I’d purchased more as this year I thought I would add a few pieces but they no longer have any pieces on the website. Such a beautiful table!
Thanks so much for bringing your wonderful table to Seasonal Sundays.
– The Tablescaper
Gorgeous Cupcakes!! The perfect recipe for this week’s Sharing Sundays, theme CUPCAKES!! Please come by and link up this recipe and any other cupcake recipes you would like. We will feature the top 5-6 viewed recipes next Sunday. The link is opened until Saturday evening.
Just wonderful! Both the information and the table. I just fell in love with the brown sugar turtles hatching out of the sand. We had the opportunity to come upon some newly hatched ones in Mexico just before they conservationists came to pick them up, so cut and so covered with sand – your brown sugar guys reminded me of them. Everything is just so beautiful!
Such an interesting post. I didn’t know anything about these little guys.
Your tablescape is stunning and all of your molds are unreal. What a fun table and so beautiful. Thanks so much for joining TTT. Hugs, Marty
I have bookmarked this creative and GORGEOUS table! It is so inspiring! Thanks for bringing this to ON THE MENU MONDAY!
Mary, I don’t know which I liked more, the story of the loggerheads or your tablescape. Only you would think of using brown sugar for “beach sand”. Love it and the little chocolate molds. I’ve been thinking about Fall, but now you have me thinking of the beach again. :)
Shells and shell motifs have been one of my all time favorite things for most of my life even though I don’t live anywhere near the shore. Thanks for the info link for the candy molds.
You’ve outdone yourself this time. Not only is it another perfect table, but you’ve made it interesting with the loggerhead info. It’s a very rainy day in Maine, a good day to catch up on blogs and other things.
I love Loggerheads! Adorable tablescape too. How lucky for you to get to witness those little baby miracles!
I blog often and I genuinely thank you for your content.
This great article has truly peaked my interest.
I’m going to bookmark your website and keep checking for new details about once per week. I opted in for your RSS feed too.
I have been searching for these items… any clue if they are still available anywhere? thank you!
Great info…thanks for the informative post. Love that table…so pretty.
Your creativity is just awesome! Thanks for sharing it with this beautiful tablescape.