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Sea turtle brings an ‘exciting morning’ to Garden City Beach goers

Sea turtle finds nesting spot on Garden City Beach

A mother sea turtle was caught on camera early Wednesday morning as she found a nest for her babies near Garden City Beach pier. Dozens of people watched as she laid eggs and returned to the ocean.
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A mother sea turtle was caught on camera early Wednesday morning as she found a nest for her babies near Garden City Beach pier. Dozens of people watched as she laid eggs and returned to the ocean.

A “beautiful experience” was caught on camera Wednesday morning on Garden City Beach: a mother sea turtle was seen nesting just north of the pier.

Mari Axson Armstrong, a group coordinator of Garden City Surfside S.C.U.T.E., took video of the turtle nesting and returning to the ocean Wednesday. Armstrong, who is a co-founder of the group along with local Terry Graham, said it was an exciting morning as the sea turtle found a nesting spot just north of the Garden City pier about 5 a.m.

“It took her a long time to nest because she went up into the rocks in front of a resort retaining wall,” Armstrong said. “She laid 95 eggs and returned to sea around 6:45 with an audience of many very respectful people who didn’t use their flash and kept quiet as to not disturb her.”

An Horry County beach service crew initially saw the turtle and called Armstrong to notify the group about the nesting mother.

“It was a beautiful experience for everyone,” Armstrong said.

S.C.U.T.E. relocated the nest further south in Garden City, due to upcoming beach renourishment, Armstrong said.

Sea turtle nesting season began May 1 and runs through October 31.

The number of nests is expected to increase this year after a slow nesting season last year. There were 36 nests laid from North Myrtle Beach to Huntington Beach State Park in 2018 compared to 116 sea turtle nests laid in 2017.

Here are tips from SCDNR if you encounter a nest:

  • Report any sick, injured, dead sea turtles and nest disturbances to SCDNR at 1-800-922-5431.
  • Always respect turtles by observing from a distance on the beach.
  • Keep beaches clean by avoid using single-use plastics. Plastic bags and balloons are some of the most common pieces of trash on South Carolina beaches, and can injure or kill sea turtles if they mistake trash for food.
The Sun News Reporter Hannah Strong is passionate about making the world better through what she reports and writes. Strong, who is a Pawleys Island native, is quick to jump on breaking news, profiles stories about people in the community and obituaries. Strong has won four S.C. Press Association first-place awards, including one for enterprise reporting after riding along with police during a homicide. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Winthrop University.
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