Turtle nest do's and don't's on St. George Island
What drives sea turtles to nest where they do is largely a mystery, but we do know that things work best when their interaction with people is at a minimum.
Stuff left out on the beach overnight is a problem during nesting season. So are large holes dug on the beach and left overnight. You'd think with all that empty beach, the chances of them getting in people's stuff would be minimal, but that just isn't so.
Here are several examples of turtles nesting just this summer, just in my little stretch of beach that I monitor(1.5 miles).
At top, the mama turtle walked nose in to a fire pit that someone had dug and filled with scrap wood. It's illegal to have fires on the beach, of course, particularly so in the Plantation, but nonetheless, it sure looks like these folks were planning one. This mama turtle turned directly around when she hit the scrap wood, and layed her nest right there, way closer to the surf than we would have expected her to do.
In the middle and bottom picture, these folks left out their tent, chairs, and various beach stuff, and the mama turtle crawled right through it all, turned back towards the gulf to leave, then seemed to change her mind and turn around. The egg clutch she layed was about 6 inches from that beach chair you see in the photo. The folks did have room to get their stuff away from the nest, and they did move it up to the boardwalks the following nights, as they were asked to do.