During the excavation, we removed the shells from the unhatched eggs as well as the shells from the hatched eggs and sorted them into three groupings: hatched eggs; unhatched eggs; and SAGs (Shelled Albumen Globule: 'extra', yolk-less eggs the turtles lay presumably to keep the air circulating among the 'real', yolk-filled eggs in the nest). We then transported all of the eggs close to the water and dug a deep hole next to the eggs. One of the biologists then counted both the SAGs and the hatched eggs and recorded that data in the log book. She put all of those shells into the hole. She then went to work on the unhatched eggs. Opening each of the unhatched shells, she looked at what was inside and grouped the eggs into four categories depending on how long into the growth process what she found inside was. Once that data was recorded, she placed all of those eggs into the hole and filled in the hole with sand -- she told us that the waves would eventually take these eggs out to sea.
We had quite a crowd around us as we worked through this process: lots of people who were spending time on the beach. I'm sure had I been one of thise beach people, I would have watched us, too -- it was a genuinely fascinating process to be part of.
I gather we may be relocating a nest tomorrow or the next day. Out tonight at 10:15, then back in six hours later. Time for a quick nap!