Outer Banks photographer Wesley Snyder spends a lot of time alone on area beaches capturing images of shipwrecks, sunrises, sunsets, the Milky Way and anything else you might find in the sand and waves.
Early Thursday morning as he set out to take some sunrise shots of the grounded trawler Ocean Pursuit near Oregon Inlet, he found himself with some company — a baby sea turtle, all alone.
“It was the only one around and I stayed with it until it reached the ocean,” Snyder wrote in a Facebook post. “I’ve just never witnessed something so incredible!!”
Sea turtle nests are pretty common on Outer Banks beaches. Cape Hatteras National Seashore had more than 200 turtles nest this season while the beach towns from Corolla to Nags Head saw 34. Nesting season runs from May to August here with the newborns hatching and making their way to the sea late in the summer into early fall.
It’s quite common to see turtle nests roped off on the beach, and not totally unheard of to catch the newborns making the trek from sand to the ocean. But it is unusual to find one all alone.
Snyder made sure to stay with the new turtle until he or she safely reached the water, and reported the lone hatchling to the Outer Banks Network for Endangered Sea Turtles.
“Good luck little buddy, I hope you reach old age and have many stories to teach the next generation,” Snyder wrote.