Thousands of sea turtle hatchlings have already abandoned their nests along St. Johns County beaches and have scurried to the Atlantic Ocean to begin their lives, seeking food and safe travel modes.


July statistics report a total of 775 nests along county beaches with 614 on north beaches, 130 on Anastasia Island and 31 at Matanzas Inlet South. Of those numbers, 102 nests have hatched, sending 9,358 hatchlings to sea.


The hatchlings will face a gauntlet of predators, such as shore birds, ghost crabs, and insects. During the first year after hatching, many species of sea turtles are rarely seen. This first year is known as the "unknown year." It’s estimated that only one in 1,000 will survive to adulthood because of dangers they will encounter.







• With the current hurricane season expected to become more active, Anastasia Island residents are reminded that re-entry tags are no longer required to return to the island and other local coastal areas after an evacuation. In the past, re-entry tags were issued to residents and business owners east of the Intracoastal Waterway. Re-entry after storms now requires proof of residency (driver license, vehicle registration, utility bill).


In St. Johns County most low-lying areas along the coast are designated evacuation zone A. That means those areas are likely to be inundated by a hurricanes storm surge of 6.5 feet or more. The zones progress inland (B, C, D and E) as you get farther away from the coast and higher in elevation.


St. Johns County has published an informative and comprehensive Hurricane Preparedness Guide that residents are encouraged to review in advance of any storms. It includes evacuation routes, shelters, special needs options and other valuable information. It is available for download and viewing at sjso.org/hurricane_preparedness.


• National Night Out, originally scheduled for Tuesday, has been tentatively rescheduled to Oct. 6. The annual event hosted by the St. Augustine Beach Police Department at Pier Park, promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie in an effort to make neighborhoods safer, better places to live.


• Ocean fishing has been a summer pastime for more than 20 years for Andy Bennett. The Lake City resident is an avid fisherman who spends some of his off time at Horseshoe Beach on Florida’s Gulf Coast, especially when trout and redfish are running.


But once a year with his wife Veronica and sons, 15-year-old Drew and 12-year-old Case, and with their 21-foot Wellcraft in tow, Bennett heads east to a St. Augustine Beach condominium, usually in July, for a week of family fun and fishing.


On this year’s visit, the Bennetts launched their boat at the St. Augustine Lighthouse ramp and headed out to Nine Mile Reef. Once there, they threw out their lines, began trolling and hit the jackpot, landing an abundance of kingfish, many of them small, but by the end of the day, the boys had landed a couple of kings, weighing 8 and 10 pounds.


• If you have news to share about people and events on Anastasia Island or nearby areas, please send your information to staugbeachwatch@aol.com or call 471-4851.