PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — On Monday evening, sea turtle fans and onlookers gathered around nest 35 at Pinnacle Port Beach.

“We just got to the beach today and noticed that this was a turtle laying area, and we saw the crowd come down, and we thought we’ll walk down and see what is going on,” said visitor Nancy Jordan.

The loggerhead nest hatched on September 7th. The Panama City Turtle Watch organization gave the nest a couple of days in case more eggs hatch.

Angela Barrows, a volunteer with the Panama City Turtle Watch explains that they have a step-by-step process when it comes to excavating, “So we were able to see where the depression was, we start digging in there, and then we pulled out all of the contents of the nest because otherwise, we wouldn’t have known how many eggs were in there, so we pulled them out and put them in rows.”

Despite some water logging from the recent heavy rain, they were able to dub this hatch a success.

“We had 61 hatched eggs, 8 whole eggs, and one broken egg. All of those eggs that didn’t hatch, are not going to hatch at this point. We collected them for research,” Barrows added.

Once everything is measured and the data is logged, they fill back in the hole with the unhatched eggs.

This keeps up with beach renourishment as well as keeps the beach seemingly untouched for other sea turtles.

The turtle watch makes these excavations public, providing a safe way for people to get an up-close and personal experience with the turtle nest. It’s a rare and special event to watch a nest hatch, but more times than not, people are a hindrance to their natural life cycle.

Barrows said even some of the turtle watch volunteers haven’t even seen a hatch, and that if you are lucky enough to watch one, you need to take some special precautions.

“Don’t use any white light that’s very disorienting to our turtles so you can observe from a distance, if you do see activity you can call Panama City Beach Police, they’ve got a list of our volunteers, they will get us out here to make sure that the event is handled okay,” said Barrows.

The PCB Turtle Watch explained that sometimes people who come down to vacation don’t even realize that sea turtles nest in northwest Florida.

If you would like to attend the next excavation, the Panama City Beach Turtle Watch posts them on the events section of their Facebook page.