Green Turtle release…

We love Padre!  And they love having kids out there.  One day the rangers sent over a message for the camp hosts to invite us to a turtle release they would be having the next day.  So before lunch, we drove (it’s not very far, we were just running late) to the visitor’s center, then walked down to the beach.  There were a few little speeches as we waited for the entourage of personal vehicles that would deliver rehabilitated Green Turtles to be released into the Gulf.  The turtles had been found washed up on Padre and Mustang Islands in the weeks before; they had been ‘cold stunned’ by the cold weather that had rolled through in the 3 weeks before.  PI 12-19 007There were a variety of people helping to deliver the turtles back to the ocean – from federal law enforcement to rangers to park employees to volunteers that work with the turtle rehab program.PI 12-19 008They would heft the turtles by their shells out of the vehicles, and walk them down to the water.  Some they would place on the sand and others they would walk out into the surf with.PI 12-19 010Some of the turtles placed on the sand would just sit there until someone picked them up and walked them out into the knee deep water. PI 12-19 024 Some would plod out to sea after being set down.  Others were beating their carriers with their flippers, the whole walk down the beach, trying to get back home.  Eventually they all swam away.PI 12-19 025Over 100 turtles were released, in two groups (some were trucked in from a father rehab center).  We should have just waited for the second group – most of the onlookers left after the first wave of turtles was released, and there were a lot fewer spectators still there for the second group 20 minutes later.PI 12-19 038Some of the volunteers had ‘their’ special turtles – ones they had found while on beach patrol and out looking for cold stunned turtles; they took care of them and followed their progress until they were ready to be released back into the ocean.
In between Padre Island, which is 60 miles long, and the mainland, there is a lagoon called Laguna Madre.  Laguna Madre averages only 3 feet deep, so the water temperature can drop drastically when a cold front moves through.  Quite a few of the turtles came from there – because turtles are cold blooded, they get their body heat from their surroundings.  If the water they are in gets too cold, their bodies shut down; they become lethargic (like hibernation) and their bodies can wash up on shore. PI 12-19 049Spectators were not allowed to touch the animals, but they would walk some of the turtles by us and give the kids a good look.  It was interesting for us northerners!  Every year that we have visited Padre, something unique and special has happened while we were there.  :)PI 12-19 092Course, when the turtle release was over, it was back to fishing! LOL!PI  12-19 007We were getting pretty good at this fishing thing by the time we left (well, at least we caught something 😉 ) – if we could only figure out how not to catch those hardheads tho!!!  Hate to feed them shrimp  😉   PI  12-19 021We are so thankful for the nice weather, friendly hosts and neighbors, and to get to catch some fish!PI  12-19 028Already looking forward to next year’s visit!!!   :)

Lilla Rose

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