A Sea Turtle Goes Home

An opportunity came up earlier this week to witness something extraordinary.  A juvenile green sea turtle named Terra-Tiger had been caught in a dredge in the Mayport area awhile back. She was scheduled to be released back into the Atlantic Ocean after being treated and rehabilitated by the good folks at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, the same place we visited just a few weeks ago.  There was never a question as to whether or not I would attend, but I had to decide if pulling Elle from school was a good idea or not. Because I’m a firm believer in creating personal connections with nature, I invited Elle to come along and promised her she wouldn’t get into trouble with her teacher.

Untitledthe good folks from Georgia Sea Turtle Center in Jekyll Island!

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this auxiliary officer was generous enough to let me get some really good close-up shots

I had never been to one of these before and I was a little taken aback by how involved the crowd really gets. The whole thing is pretty emotional, in that bittersweet kind of way. We all cheered as the handler brought Terra-Tiger around for everyone to get a good look. The auxiliary officer even encouraged the little ones to chant, “Go, turtle, go!” over and over again. The kids loved it!

this guy had everyone chanting, "Go, turtle, go!"

“Go, turtle, go!”

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Here comes Terra-Tiger and her handler!

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everyone got an opportunity to get a close-up look at Terra-Tiger

Terra-Tiger!

Terra-Tiger

The handler walked out into the Atlantic until she was waist-deep. There she waited for a break in the waves before releasing Terra-Tiger into the water.  When she threw her hands up in the air, the crowd cheered and clapped and, yes, some of us even got a little teary-eyed.

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Going home…

walking her out for release

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success!

…and she’s gone!

How could you not get at least a little teary-eyed? Especially because Terra-Tiger’s handler kept looking over her shoulder as she headed back to shore, maybe hoping to get one more glimpse.

This is definitely one of those moments the kid and I will always remember.  So long, Terra-Tiger.

Terra-Tiger's caretaker returning empty-handed. Bittersweet.

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7 thoughts on “A Sea Turtle Goes Home

  1. I would have LOVED seeing this! What an experience for you both, and DEFINITELY an event worthy of cutting class! Those last two shots really express the emotion of the day, yeah? Elation over the successful rehabilitation, then crestfallen after the send-off when Terra-T swims away. Fantastic post, and so beautifully captured! Thank you for starting my day so positively! 🙂

    • I’m glad to have been there! There is another release scheduled for May 18 but it’s been publicized for weeks. This particular one yesterday was only out for 2 days…far fewer people, more intimate and personal. Definitely worth skipping school over!

  2. You don’t know how happy I am right now after reading this. My eyes are heavy, drowning in tears =’) Thanks for sharing. I’ll share this with the thousands of friends and followers I have in Twitter and Facebook.

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