Tiny turtle hatchlings journey to the Gulf of Mexico

All at once, tiny baby sea turtles broke free from their eggs and wandered down the beach of Anna Maria Island toward their new home in the Gulf of Mexico.

It's turtle nesting and hatching season and the video captured Sunday evening just after 8 p.m. shows beachgoers crowding around to watch the natural wonder as it all unfolded.

Dozens of tiny hatchlings made their way over mounds of sand and some seaweed obstacles to make their way into the water. 

"What a great experience," Albert Graveley posted along with the video on Instagram. 

The Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce also shared the video with a reminder to guests on the beach to turn the lights out after dark.

Florida Fish and Wildlife says turtles instinctively travel away from the dark silhouette of the dunes toward the brightest horizon, which is usually the light reflecting off the ocean, but artificial lights on the beach can cause them to journey the wrong way. 

Because of that, many cities and counties have adopted lighting ordinances prohibiting light from reaching the beach to help protect the sea turtles.