(CNN) – On the night of Independence Day people at a Florida beach were expecting a fireworks display, but they were met with a surprise treat. Baby turtles decided to put on their own show at Fernandina Beach.
Beachgoers watched in awe as hundreds of sea turtle hatchlings proceeded into the ocean.
“I’ve lived in the area for 30 years and this was my very first time ever experiencing this,” Becky Finsness told CNN.
“All I know (is) one minute I’m standing there enjoying some fireworks from beachgoers, and the next minute this awesome act of nature started unfolding right in front of me.”
As the turtles made their way into the water, beachgoers kept their distance to allow for their safe passage, Finsness said.
“It took me a second to realize what was actually happening,” Finsness said. “Other beach goers were standing around, and as my son put it, ‘It was like the splitting of the Red Sea’ … everyone took a step back and allowed the baby sea turtles to make their way to the ocean.”
Sea turtles lay more than 100 eggs at a time on average. Fewer than 0.1% of hatchlings survive to adulthood. All species of sea turtles are threatened with extinction.