Up and down the coast there are many little screened white cages to protect them from predators. While the mother comes ashore in search of the perfect place to lay her clutch of eggs volunteers carefully monitor things. As she goes into a trance each nest is outfitted with high tech thermometers so data can be collected within each nest during the gestation. The higher temperatures (and global warming) creates more females than males, which is unsettling. Even just a couple of degrees difference will make the entire nest female (warmer temps coincide with higher female populations).
The next day they go in to excavate the nest, help the stragglers who are still fighting their way out, and counting the unfertilized eggs, unhatched eggs, and those that are empty which resemble ping pong balls. Surprisingly even ghost crabs have been known to attack these little guys as they make their way to the sea pulling them into their holes for a meal. In several photos their tiny nails are visible, but generally they are pretty peaceful and defenseless.
Some come out flapping away and ready swim, while others are a bit more lethargic after using up so much energy to get out of the egg chamber.
Since the glaring mid-day sun is a bit too intense and make the turtles more susceptible to predators they are collected and released under the moon light after the beach has closed.
The best way to know if there will be a release that night is to call the "goat shed" promptly at noon. Sometimes the phone lines are very busy, so if you're in the area it helps to stop by in person.
As I held my little matchbox sized sea turtle her little feet were flapping in the air ready to swim. I told her to grow big, strong, and come back with her own babies. Then I set her into the sand and watched her scurry into the water. She was the fastest of the bunch. It's a really neat experience to be a part of.
We did not see any loggerhead hatchlings during four excavations, but we did adopt a green sea turtle, so we can track him/her as long as the tracking device doesn't fall off.
If you are also planning a trip to see the sea turtles, you may find the following links useful:
SPOT - Society for Protection of Turtles
How the divide in Cyprus affects the turtles