Who is Turtle Man, you ask? Let me tell you who and why…
Weekend before last, Mr. and I went in search of some new shells. (one can never have too many shells! Even if one already has two tubs of shells ready to be used for something.) The beach we go to is located in an area that isn’t heavily populated and is mostly known only to locals. There were only two guys fishing, besides us. As we made our way along the beach, we came across some “puddles” that were left over from an earlier rain. There was quite a bit of activity in the puddles, as some of the sealife had not made their way back to the main water. (it was super windy, as you can hear in the videos)
A little further down the beach, Mr. yelled that there was a sea turtle in the water. After watching it swim for a few minutes, we realized it was in distress. Mr. waded out to make sure that it wasn’t tangled in fishing line or anything of that sorts. We knew that sea turtles are on the endangered list, so I texted our daughter’s roommate, who happens to have a degree in marine biology, and is our resident expert. (She would be my “Phone-a-Friend”, if I was ever on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” and I had to answer an oceanic question!) She supplied the phone number for us to call and the rescue commenced!
The woman on the other end said she was about 30 minutes away and would head our way, but that we needed to try and catch the turtle if possible, so that it wouldn’t be carried further out by the current. So Mr. waded back out into the water to catch the turtle. Yeah, easier said than done! After several attempts though, Mr. was able to get a good grip on it.
We then headed back down the beach with the worn-out turtle in hand to wait for our rescuer. She arrived in her personal car, as she said she didn’t want to take the time to go get the pick-up they usually used for rescues, and never hesitated in putting him in her floorboard! Water, sand, algae, and peeing turtle! Gotta love animal lovers! 🙂 She thought he probably had been hit by a boat, but that it was an old injury. Part of his shell was broken and missing, but it wasn’t sharp, and he already had some algae growing on the shell. She also figured he had some nerve damage in his back legs since they weren’t working correctly.
In all the excitement of someone coming to help us, we forgot to ask where she would take him. Our family expert is pretty sure she took him to the NOAA, Galveston Laboratory, as they have a sea turtle facility to rehabilitate injured turtles.
So now you know why Mr. has the new title, Turtle Man!
Y’all have a great day!
UPDATE: Do not attempt to handle/touch a sea turtle on your own. It is a federal offense that comes with a hefty fine. We were able to do so without consequences, due to being requested to do so by the NOAA, NMFS.