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Leatherback turtles make their way to Atlantic Ocean

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Nearly 200 volunteers and Carolina Beach goers witnessed a very rare sighting Monday night. Seventy leatherback turtles hatched from a nest and made their way to the Atlantic Ocean.

Volunteers for the Sea Turtle Project said this is the first time a leatherback turtle has ever nested on Carolina Beach; you will more typically find them in the Outer Banks.

The nest first appeared 69 days ago. For the past 15 days, volunteers have worked in shifts, sleeping in tents, to protect the nest 24 hours a day and to be ready when the turtles hatched.

Nancy Busoyne of the Pleasure Island Sea Turtle Project said, “About 8:30 last night, a little hole formed in the nest. At about 9:30 we could see the babies underneath the sand, and about 10:00 they all came out at the same time. It’s called a boil because it literally looks like the sand is boiling, but it was a beautiful, beautiful thing to see.”

The little leatherbacks can grow up to seven feet long. Volunteers will dig out the nest to make sure there are no stragglers.

For more information, or to sign up to volunteer with the Sea Turtle Project, you can visit our www.seaturtleproject.org.

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Story summary

Nearly 200 volunteers and Carolina Beach goers witnessed a very rare sighting Monday night. Seventy leatherback turtles hatched from a nest and made their way to the Atlantic Ocean.

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