Residents walk eroded Fort Pierce beach after Irma, rescue baby sea turtles
FORT PIERCE — Evelyn Brobst, 8, jumped from a 5-foot-tall sand dune on Fort Pierce Beach, eroded by powerful waves from Hurricane Irma.
She was walking down the beach Monday morning south of the Fort Pierce Inlet with her parents, Ray and Stephanie Brobst, searching the sand to see what the storm washed up past the shoreline. The Brobsts had just weathered their first hurricane.
People are rescuing sea turtle hatchlings displaced by Hurricane Irma at the jetty in Fort Pierce.LEAH VOSS/TCPALM
The family made its way back to South Hutchinson Island as soon as it reopened to residents that morning to check on their beach house about 600 feet from the ocean.
The couple didn’t find any damage — only a few scattered branches.
“We are so lucky,” said Ray Brobst.
They moved to the beach three years ago but evacuated to Naples last year for Hurricane Matthew, he said. They came home to find a leaky roof on their beach house but fixed it well before Irma.
This year, the Brobsts stayed at another home in River Woods in St. Lucie Village, so they had to endure several tornado warnings throughout the night.
“They were scary,” said Ray Brobst.
“They were nonstop,” added Stephanie Brobst.
Before the first one was issued, she watched the sky change colors, including pinks and purples.
“It was just bizarre out there,” said Stephanie Brobst.
They were driving to River Woods at the time, and their daughter was scared when she mistook a tall building for a twister.
“I was crying because I thought the tower was a tornado,” Evelyn said.
They experienced some flooding in River Woods, he said, but the water kept going down Monday.
Others walking Monday morning along the beach found something moving among the sand littered with plastic bottles and other garbage.
Eric Burke, who lives off Carlton Court on the island, and others were scouring the beach and jetty south of the inlet for baby sea turtles trying to make their way to the Atlantic Ocean. The tiny turtles struggled over the disturbed sands and kept getting pushed back onto the beach by strong waves.
Burke called Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials, who instructed him how to help with the multiple calls they received related to baby sea turtles.
He had found about a dozen by 9:45 a.m. but kept coming across more. He also found a sea turtle egg.
“We’re just simply finding the ones that are alive and putting them in a bucket as the FWC directed us to,” Burke said. “After we’re done searching, I’m going to bring them back to get my house, and I’m going to keep them there until the officials come and get them.”
Residents are rescuing sea turtles displaced by Hurricane Irma at the jetty in Fort Pierce. LEAH VOSS/TCPALM
The Brevard Zoo’s Sea Turtle Healing Center releases an adult loggerhead sea turtle, Lucie, on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017, at Round Island Beach Park in Vero Beach. XAVIER MASCAREÑAS/TCPALM Wochit
Video: Residents rescue sea turtles at Fort Pierce jetty
Video: Rescued loggerhead, Lucie, released in Vero Beach