On Saturday, May 1st, the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue program released 7 rehabilitated sea turtles (3 loggerheads and 4 green sea turtles) into the ocean at Isle of Palms County Park. It was an amazing experience seeing these beautiful creatures returned to the sea after having been rehabilitated back to health by the great people of the South Carolina Aquarium. Everyone was in great spirits, and I couldn’t have met nicer people while waiting for the show to begin.
The crowd started gathering early, and 90 minutes before showtime the path to the ocean was already defined by waiting turtle lovers.
An hour later the line was 5 people deep, leaving a nice wide path for the turtles to take toward the Atlantic Ocean
First to be released was a loggerhead turtle named Beasley. He barely survived a cold snap in North Carolina waters in early February of 2009:
Front row seats:
I love how this boy crawled through a sea of legs to get his prime spot:
Finally Beasley reached the ocean…
…and swam away to a great round of applause and cheers from the crowd:
Meanwhile, another loggerhead survivor of the same cold snap in North Carolina, Ocracoke, was given a helping hand in getting to the water…
…and then stopped to pose for the paparazzi:
Seemed like Ocracoke was really checking out everything before going back home to the sea:
Swim Ocracoke, swim!
Up next was Dare, a green sea turtle who was also a victim of a cold snap, this one in December of 2009. He was covered in barnacles when he arrived at the aquarium, but he’s sure looking good now!
Cluse, another green turtle brought in as a result of the same event as Dare, testing the waters before getting in:
Here, Dare, Cluse, and Frisco, yet another green sea turtle brought in due to cold-stunning, are released at the same time:
Scute, a juvenile loggerhead turtle, has the distinction of being the 50th turtle to have been rehabilitated and released by the South Carolina Aquarium. Looks like he wants nothing to do with the fanfare of having his picture taken…
…and heads straight for the horizon once past the cameras:
It’s just so awesome to see them swim away…
Last but not least was Mingo, a juvenile green sea turtle found on Kiawah Island, SC, in June of 2009. He was found very underweight, covered in barnacles, and suffering from severe dehydration. Mingo was “air-swimming” the entire way to the water!
“Please, no photos”
The crowd loves little Mingo:
One last look before the show is over:
I cannot describe how magical it was to see these turtles find their way back to the ocean and swim away. If you ever get a chance to see it for yourself, go check it out!
Now, for those of you asking yourselves “What are sea turtles doing on a blog devoted to ‘pet’ photos?” The answer is this: some turtles are pets! (Though no one should have a sea turtle as a pet—they belong in the oceans.) Also, turtles have had a bit of a role in my life, as can be seen in this past blog entry of my brother and me holding our pet turtles in Holland. I’ll even confess here on my blog, that my mom’s nickname for me used to be “Turtle” (had something to do with me telling her I’d be right over, then getting caught up in something I was doing, and showing up an hour later.)
My mom would have turned 80 tomorrow. She passed away at age 78, and some days I still cannot fathom that she is no longer alive (she always believed she would “at least” make it to age 99, like her own mother did.) Mom would have loved to have been front row for the turtle release, and it is thanks to her that I have my love of nature, travel, art, writing and photography. So, in honor of what would have been my mom’s 80th birthday tomorrow, I am offering a May special for pet photography! Any photo session booked in May, and making mention of the discount code…wait for it…TURTLE, will receive an extra $80 print credit! So what are you waiting for? Book it!