Sea Turtle Rescues and Spring Break Road Trips

sea turtleA record 242 sea turtles were rescued from the icy waters around Cape Cod this winter and most have now been released into the warmer ocean waters around Florida.

Sea turtles are susceptible to hypothermia and can strand on Cape Cod beaches during the fall and winter. Volunteers from the Massachusetts Audubon Sanctuary at Wellfleet Bay walk the beaches, find the cold-stunned turtles, and transport them to the New England Aquarium Animal Care Center near Boston. In an average year, about 70 juvenile, Kemp’s ridley, loggerhead and green sea turtles are taken in, according to the New England Aquarium website. This past season’s total of 242 was the largest yet recorded.

Aquarium facilities all along the Northeast coast made room for the sea turtles. Then this spring, once the turtles were warmed and revitalized, the road trips to Florida began. Volunteers picked the sea turtles up and drove them to the Florida beaches.

I wonder what the sea turtles were thinking during those road trips. After suffering through the Cape Cod winter season, I’m sure they must have been looking forward to swimming in warmer ocean waters and soaking up the sun.

Click here for sea turtle Spring Break photos showing one of the releases in Florida.

Sea turtles are one of the Earth’s most ancient animals. The seven species that can be found today have been around for about 110 million years, since the time of the dinosaurs. By comparison, modern humans have only been around for a fraction of that time – about 200 thousand years.

Unlike other turtles, sea turtles can’t retract their legs and head into their shells.

Sea turtles play a part in my novel, Ocean Echoes, which will hopefully be published someday (I know, I keep saying that).

49 thoughts on “Sea Turtle Rescues and Spring Break Road Trips

  1. Thanks Sheila, I learned something new today! That’s an amazing number of rescues. I can just picture those turtles in Florida, playing mahJong and taking advantage of those early bird specials…

    • Hahah! Sea turtles are pretty adventurous so they’d probably be excited for any of those Florida attractions. It’s fun picturing them hanging their heads out of the car windows, enjoying the warmer air while on those road trips. 🙂

  2. I normally don’t like animals that don’t have fur, but I make an exception for turtles. 🙂 They’re pretty neat creatures. Have you ever been to the turtle farm on Grand Cayman Island? Fun place.

    • I guess it’s hard to pet and cuddle with those furless animals, but sea turtles are very cute anyway. They always seem to be smiling. I haven’t been to the turtle farm – I’ll have to add it to my list of future adventures!

  3. That is soooo cool, Sheila. Thanks for the link to that other blog. Those pictures are amazing. And whoo hoo for Ocean Echoes! Can’t wait to read it.

    • Thanks Char! It is nice to see those pictures of the release. It would be great to be able to be a volunteer like that someday (especially if Florida road trips are included in the deal)!

  4. Such a happy ending, Yeah!! Since I’m fairly new to your blog I haven’t heard much about your novel but I’m looking forward to hearing about it! 🙂 I hope there’ll be a happy ending there for you too!!!

    • Thanks Arlene! Maybe I haven’t talked about the novel that much yet. I finished writing it before starting the blog and I’ve been revising it ever since. I haven’t sent out too many queries yet because I wanted to make sure all the revisions were done first, but now I’m finally really querying so a happy ending would be nice! 🙂

      • That’s exciting! Revisions can be such a tough part of the process (at least for me) so it’s great to hear you’ve gotten through that part. I can’t wait to hear about your querying process!!

      • The revisions did take a lot longer than the writing part. I kept thinking it was done and then I’d change it all around again. It’s probably never really done, but at some point it has to be done enough to stop fiddling with it. 🙂

    • It is good to hear some happy ocean news every once in a while! It’s great that the volunteers find them and help them. I’ve never seen sea turtles on the beach around here, but if I did I’m not so sure I’d be able to tell whether or not they’re in distress. They do look peaceful and usually pretty rested. 🙂

  5. A friend of mine is an Audubon volunteer. She walks the Cape beaches in the winter, looking for stranded turtles. After reading your blog entry, I have a new appreciation for her efforts.

    • That’s great that your friend does that! I’d love to someday. I guess they’re out there in the worst weather looking for the stranded sea turtles. I’ve never seen a sea turtle on the beach, but now I’ll know who to call if I do!

    • Thank you! It is a long journey, but the main thing is to never give up and to just do it for the love of it so that’s what I’m trying to remember! 🙂

    • That’s right – I’ve seen a picture of your publicist with one of those Galapagos turtles (or at least it was a really huge one)! I’m glad she enjoyed hearing about the rescues. xoxo

    • They do look very old and very wise – which makes sense because they’ve been around a lot longer than us! Happy almost weekend!

  6. It is so nice to hear of successful rescues of sea life. Too many times the news isn’t good—and mostly because of human activities. Sending you positive thoughts for your querying! I’d love to have another blog buddy’s book featured on my home page and a Saturday Sit Down post. 🙂

    • When I heard about this, it did make me think maybe humans aren’t so bad after all. 🙂 Thanks so much for the positive thoughts – I’m sure I’ll need them! I’d love to be able to do a Saturday Sit Down. Sending those positive thoughts right back at you too.

  7. Turtles are such beautiful creatures, Shelia. It restores my faith in humanity when people go out their way to help them. Lovely post! 😀

  8. This past August in Costa Rica, my husband and son and I watched green turtles come into the beach at night to lay their eggs. It was something I will never forget. I’m thankful there are so many people investing energy in their preservation.

    • That must have been amazing to see! It’s a wonder that they know what to do and where to go, and that they return to the same places where they were born. It is inspiring to see what can happen when people get together to do things like this.

  9. Does anyone know how they end up in the cold waters? If it’s because of human intervention (intentional or otherwise) then it’s correct that they are rescued. Looking forward to ‘Ocean Echoes’.

    • Thanks Roy! I think it happened mostly because we had a lot of sudden temperature drops this past fall and winter. But most species are endangered because of human obstacles like fishing and shrimping nets. Boat traffic and pollution probably doesn’t help much either. Hopefully the sea turtles that were released will find ways to survive. They did look pretty happy to be back out there again.

  10. Woo hoo for the turtles–and the people who rescued them. I just watched the movie, Big Miracle, about the 3 whales stuck underneath ice in Alaska. I liked it because it gave all sides to the whale issue: the Eskimos, Big Oil, Greenpeace, and Average Joe. Stories like that help me believe that people will do the right thing, although I wish they’d do the right thing a little more often.

    • I haven’t seen that one and will make sure to watch it – thanks Kate! I know what you mean – we need to do the right thing more often – and it’s usually not that hard to do!

  11. They indeed are amazing creatures. I wish Maldivians were more concerned about the beautiful creatures we have in our oceans. It saddens me very much when people hunt them out just because they are delicious. Turtles are a protected species and it is illegal to capture them … and yet it happens 😦

    More awareness needed here.

    Do write your novel. I will be the first to buy an autographed copy 🙂

    • Thanks so much Amira! It’s hard to find that balance between the fishing industry and ocean conservation, but we’re going to have to find it soon – before so many species of fish and sea life are gone. If my novel ever gets published, you’ll be one of the first to get an autographed copy. 🙂

  12. Wonderful, informational post, Sheila, and I’m so glad they were rescued! Thanks also for sharing the awesome photos…and congrats on your upcoming novel, too! That is very exciting! Are you self publishing or have you found a publisher? Anyway, hugs to you!

    • Hi Lauren! I’m trying to traditionally publish and querying now so it could still take a long time, but I’ll do a few updates here and there while trying to remain sane throughout the process. 🙂 Hugs and Happy Spring!

  13. If the sea turtles are like us New Englanders, a trip to warm up in Florida is always welcomed. 🙂

    • That’s true – especially after the winter we just had! It’s been too long since Spring Break for me, but I’m glad the sea turtles were able to have one.

    • I hadn’t heard that either and probably only heard about it this winter because of the record breaking year. I’m glad there’s such a network set up to help them when they end up on the beach and will have to be on the lookout for them in the winter now.

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