Tag Archives: Easter egg hunt

Blacktip Island To Celebrate Easter With A Sea-Turtle Egg Hunt


Brightly-painted pingpong balls will double as sea turtle eggs Sunday in the Department of Environment’s inaugural Easter turtle-egg hunt. (photo courtesy of Dean Hochman)

Blacktip Island children of all ages will celebrate Easter Sunday with a Department of Environment-sponsored sea turtle egg hunt along the small Caribbean island’s beaches to raise awareness of endangered sea turtle nests, DoE officials said.

“They’re not real turtle nests, of course,” marine parks spokesperson Val Schrader said. “It’s the wrong season. But when nesting season comes around this summer, we aim to have a small army of beach walkers who know what to look for so we can track all of the green and loggerhead turtle hatchings.

“We dug fake nests all over the island and filled them with dyed pingpong balls to simulate turtle eggs,” Schrader said. “Then we used tractor tires to simulate turtle tracks up the beach. The kids dig into them like little terriers—sand flies everywhere. The smaller ones go in head-first to their waists.”

Some on the island criticized the activity.

“You’re teaching children to dig up turtle nests. That can’t end well,” Frank Maples said. “Most adults can make the distinction between a spring egg hunt and summer nest spotting, but some of the younger kiddos can’t. This could lead to hordes of preschoolers destroying endangered nests in a few months’ time.”

Organizers downplayed such scenarios.

“Kids are smarter than that. And we explain the difference,” DoE volunteer Melissa Snapper said. “Plus, there’s only about three kids on the island, so, worst case, they can’t do too much damage. It’s the half-wit adults we’re worried about. But that’ll be more than offset by our raising awareness of the nests. A bigger danger is folks getting snake bit.”

Local retailers are supporting the hunt.

“We’ll have food and drink booths set up near every faux-nest site,” Sandy Bottoms Beach Resort manager Kay Valve said. “We’ll serve turtle-related fare like turtle steaks and turtle medallions. There’ll be no mock-turtle soup, but we will have real-turtle soup and mock anyone who eats it. Oh, and chocolate turtles, too, if the heat doesn’t melt them.

“There’ll also be a nest-digging contest, a crawl-up-the-beach-on-your-belly contest and pin the head on the turtle game,” Valve said. “We’ll also have pingpong tables and paddles for anyone who fancies a game with the faux eggs they find.”

Local bands The Social Morays and Turtlehead will perform in the evening.

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Blacktip Island Easter Crab Hunt Slated For Sunday

Easter crab

Blacktip Island residents were busy this week collecting land crabs to dye for Sunday’s Easter Crab Hunt. (photo courtesy of B.C. Flote)

Blacktip Island’s children will crowd the Heritage House grounds Sunday afternoon for the Caribbean island’s annual Easter Crab Hunt.

“It’s a tradition from generations ago that teaches kids foraging skills,” organizer Doris Blenny said. “We dye land crabs bright Easter colors, dump them on the lawn, give them a five-minute head start, then turn the kids loose.

“Only four children live on the island, so it doesn’t have much impact on the crab population,” Blenny said. “Plus, we use water-soluble food coloring that doesn’t harm the crabs. And non-colored crabs don’t count.”

The hunt is not without its hazards.

“A kid’ll get pinched every once in a while, but that just toughens them up,” Hunt Marshal B.C. Flote said. “It’s part of the learning process. And they won’t make that same mistake twice.

“We fit the smaller kiddos out with oven mitts and baseball gloves,” Flote said. “It’s a hoot watching them run around in their Sunday-best clothes, diving willy-nilly for crabs under the sea grapes.”

Prizes will be awarded to whoever collects the most crabs and whoever finds the biggest crab.

“The biggest challenge is keeping the crabs in the Easter baskets,” Blenny said. “Last year several children lined five-gallon buckets with plastic Easter grass. No crabs got out, but afterward it was impossible to separate the crabs from the grass, and some good chocolate got ruined.”

Adult residents are looking forward to the hunt as well.

“It just isn’t Easter without it,” resident Olive Beaugregory said. “My little ones so love getting together to dye the crabs the night before. And you should hear them scream as they chase the crabs. Even before anyone gets pinched.

“They love seeing Dermott dressed as the Easter Crab, too, handing out the chocolate crabs,” Beaugregory said. “Even if Mr. Crabby does smell a bit like feet. And rum.”

As ever, island authorities cautioned residents to be on guard against crab-related vandalism.

“Every year we get folks – kids and adults – slipping painted crabs inside peoples cars and houses,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “It’s the only time of year people lock their doors and windows. Those crabs can be a messy surprise.”

The traditional Easter Crab Hunt will be followed by the traditional Easter Crab Boil.

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