Mid-day Snack

Amelia Island, Florida is one of my favorite summertime destinations.  Great beach.  Not crowded.  And plenty to do in the quaint village of Fernandina Beach.  Which actually has a great historic district, antique shops and restaurants.  Lots, and I mean lots, of golf.  As long as I can stay in a place where I can see the water I’m happy, but the best place, for me, is at the Plantation.  And there, I prefer a spot called Turtle Dunes.  Has a lot of memories for me.

I never knew why it was called turtle dunes.  I just figured it was a beachy sounding kind of name for a residential area on the water.  And turtles have been of great interest to people of many cultures for a very long time.  On other beach trips I’d seen the roped off little areas on the dunes that indicated a sea turtle nest, with hundreds of eggs buried.  But I’d never actually seen a turtle, or the little hatchlings scampering across the sand on their way back to the sea.  So, you can imagine my surprise when just after lunch I walked down the path from the condo, across the boardwalk spanning the dunes, and saw right there in front of me, right, a turtle.

It wasn’t a sea turtle.  The feet were clearly feet and not flippers.  And the shell had a high arch to it rather than the flattened shell of a sea turtle.  Don’t ask me for a scientific species identification.  I just know it was a turtle.  It wasn’t all curled up in its shell.  No, this dude was walking around.  Checking out the sights and looking for a little bit of grass to eat.  He took really little bites.   When he saw me he must have been curious: food or foe?  He came right at me, turning several times as I moved out of his way.  He must have gotten bored with that game as he soon went back to walking around  with an ocassional stop for a bite to eat.  He finally made his way to a hidden hole in the sand dune and disappeared into his home.  Enough sun and food for now.  I don’t know how long he was out there, or how much he ate, or how far he walked around, but what I saw him eat wouldn’t sustain a gnat.  But he looked like he’d been around for a while as he was rather large.  And I suspect “experienced.”

Big deal you say.  OK, it was a minor moment, but how often does a burb dad like me run into wild animals sharing the beach?  I guess in a way, he was allowing me to share his beach.  I’ve seen plenty of birds at the beach, and dolphins, and a shark or two, and fish in the water, and crabs scurrying around, and a skate once.  But never a turtle.  And I really like turtles.  Probably because we move at the same speed.  So, it was a big deal to me.  And part of my personal history.

What’s your story?  Have you seen a turtle?  Save your stories for the future.  www.personalhistorywriter.com

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