Friday, September 25, 2009

Turtle Adventure Part 2

I thought my part of this turtle adventure was over with being the turtle chauffeur. This was just the beginning. I received another call later asking if I wanted to go out with the Coast Guard and help release the turtles. I jumped at the chance, this was a once in a lifetime sort of thing for me. So the next morning I met the refuge workers, with turtles in tow, at the ferry drop off. I assumed that we were taking the ferry over from Ft. Morgan to Dauphin Island and leaving on the boat from the Coast Guard station there. This was not the case!!! We went to the boat launch. There we met two of the Gentlemen from the Coast Guard at the boat launch. They handed us life vests and helmets. We put on our gear handed the turtles over to them and boarded the Coast Guard Red, zodiac.
videoThe five of us along with two turtles took off toward open water. We had to take the turtles 40 miles out, I was pretty sure we were not taking this boat and that was the case. We were speeding quickly toward a large Coast guard cutter, the Cobia. We got closer to the boat and the our chauffeurs instructed us to keep our hands and arms inside the boat. This was starting to feel a little like a roller coaster ride. I love roller coasters. The next thing I knew we started going faster and drove up into back of the boat. video The crew on board caught the boat with a huge rope and then secured us into the larger vessel. We were all helped off and the turtles were handed up on board as well. We were given a tour of the boat, and made to feel at home.
Then off we went toward the sea weed line to let the turtles go. We were able to go along on a regular cruise we this boat patrols the waters keeping our coast line safe.

We wet down the turtles a bit and gave some of the crew members a quick lesson on our flippered friends. We even had an opportunity to steer the boat a bit.
We finally reached our destination and loaded back onto the zodiac. We took the turtles out to the weed line where they have a great chance to grow and feed safely.
Both turtles were anxious to get in the water. I video taped while the two refuge interns let the turtles go. What an amazing experience to be a part of. Both turtles happily swam away right to the weed line, just were they were supposed to be. I wanted to thank the Bon Secour Refuge and the Officers and crew of the Coast Guard cutter Cobia.

Thank you, all for the great adventure.

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