The old adage holds that timing is everything.
A perfect example highlighted last Sunday’s fourth annual Forgotten Coast Sea Turtle Festival in Port St. Joe’s George Core Park.
In the past, festival organizers have discussed a little collaboration with the U.S. Geological Survey.
Each year, researchers with the USGS undertake sea turtle research in St. Joseph Bay, capturing and tagging turtles and following migration patterns.
And in each of the first three years of the Sea Turtle Festival, the hope had been the festival would coincide with a USGS capture.
That hasn’t worked out that way for varying reasons; last year it was the weather.
This past Sunday was another matter as a capture, measuring and tagging of Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle was performed for the eyes and cameras of throngs of visitors to the Sea Turtle Festival.
“We have been telling people there is the whole underworld out there and there is important work going on,” said Jessica Swindall with the Florida Coastal Conservancy, which sponsors the Sea Turtle Festival.
“This was a perfect example of that work and people loved it. The conditions and location just turned out great.”
As it did for the festival as a whole; the festival drew its largest crowds in its existence under bright azure skies.
“This was our best yet,” Swindall said. “The weather was gorgeous and we had tremendous attendance.
“I think it went very well.”
The festival offered a host of vendors, some live music and a number of children’s games this year, keeping people entertained throughout the afternoon.
And the theme of education and awareness of sea turtles and their place in the local ecosystem was brightly underlined amid the fun.
“Everybody had a good time and they didn’t even know they were learning,” Swindall said.
Swindall added that a bountiful festival fit right in with what is so far a bountiful turtle nesting season.
To date, on the six-mile stretch of St. Joseph Peninsula, volunteers have surveyed 116 nests. With nesting to continue into August, the peninsula is on pace to reach the 230 or so nests from two years ago.
“We are really pleased,” said Swindall, volunteer coordinator for the St. Joseph Peninsula Turtle Patrol.