Friday, May 14, 2010

Never IN TWENTY YEARS!

In 20 years of taking kids out on to the Gulf of Florida to trawl the grassflats. we have never hauled up a seaturtle.

We see them of course.
They cruise by occasionally, popping their head up for a breath, and then slipping back beneath the surface.

We keep our trawl times very short, ... about 3-5 minutes just because they are out there. Our net is tiny, with an opening that is probably two feet by 3 feet and sea turtles are fast as the dickens in the water, so we NEVER really expect to catch one.

Still, just in case, we make short hauls so that any sea turtle in the net is not overly stressed or drowned.

When the kids ask, "Will we catch a shark or a seaturtle?", I always tell them no.
It just doesn't happen.



Yesterday, when the kids hauled the trawl net aboard, they started yelling, "We caught a turtle! We caught a turtle!"

I was sure they were mistaken, and I said so.

"It's probably just a big horseshoe crab in the grass." I said in my all knowing science teacher way.

Nope.

It was a seaturtle ... a young loggerhead.

UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE!!

OKAY, I THOUGHT IT WAS A YOUNG LOGGERHEAD, BUT A LONG TIME PUREFLORIDA READER, MYAMUHNATIVE, GENTLY CORRECTED ME AND MYAMUH IS RIGHT. IT'S A GREEN AS EVIDENT BY THE 4 PAIRS OF SCUTES ALONG THE SIDE ... LOGGERHEADS HAVE 5.

AT THE TIME I THOUGHT TO MYSELF, "THAT IS ONE PRETTY TURTLE FOR A LOGGERHEAD" .
I SHOULD TAKEN THAT TRAIL OF SELF DOUBT AND KEYED IT OUT BEFORE PUBLISHING, BUT WHEN YOU ARE FULL OF YOURSELF SOMETIMES YOU IGNORE THESE LITTLE SIGNALS.

THANK YOU, MYAMUH!


We got him out of the net quickly, held him on board for about 30 seconds, just long enough to take these shots, and then slipped him smoothly back into the Gulf.

... Talk about some stoked kids! They were ecstatic!

So was I.



I couldn't help think that he may be a grandkid of mine since the thousands of baby loggerheads I hatched as a National Park Ranger in the 80's have been laying eggs for several years now.

29 comments:

Dani said...

That is sooooooooooooo cool!!!! I bet you had a grin on your face the rest of the day!

Boss Gator said...

I was out of Cedar Key about 15 miles last weekend. I've never seen so many turtles--saw at least 3 BIG loggerheads. They're so majestic to see on the surface, especially when they pop that head up. They look almost like a person swimming when they do that.

Sandcastle Momma said...

Wow! What an experience. You and the kids will treasure that always. I'm jealous LOL

myamuhnative said...

um,FC, that is no Loggerhead!
It's a green !
Notice the darker coloration and slimmer head compared to the Block head of a loggerhead.

Floridagirl said...

What a beautiful creature!!! How lucky those kids are to spend science classes on a boat!

Sharon said...

Isn't he beautiful!! How cool.

Pablo said...

So you have turtle lineage.

Did you give it a name?

Miz S said...

What? Can it be true? myamuhnative is questioning your turtle id skills! I assume every word you type is a precious gem of knowledge. Don't let me down, FC.

cinbad122 said...

That is a beautiful guy (or girl)! Me = Jealous!!!!

robin andrea said...

What a fantastic moment for you and the kids. Sweet looking little turtle too. Hope he survives and has a good long life.

Anonymous said...

Hi FC,

Very cool turtle! He looks like he's saying 'oops, now what?'.

Another great day for your kids.

P

Felicia said...

Very neat! That must have been a major thrill for all of you!

Sit A Spell said...

How awesome is that? He is beautiful! Looks like y'all made a pretty cool memory...good thing you had a camera with you!

cndymkr / jean said...

He is beautiful. How old do you think he is?

Floridacracker said...

Note: I corrected the original post at 10pm Friday night. Myamuhnative is right, it's a green not a loggerhead.


Dani,
The kids were buzzing about it constantly today!

Boss,
There is so much food out there for them right now, I'm not surprised they are congregating in the area. Catch any fish?

Sandmomma,
They are already the "turtle crew" and have achieved legendary status.
LOL!

Myamuh,
You are right. I mostly see loggerheads and made an assumption, but you nailed it.
Thanks for that help!!

FG,
It's the big event during their year with me and it sticks with them forever I think.


Sharon,
He's so clean. No barnacles or other epifauna. Purty.

Pablo,
We probably all do when you think about it, but mine is more recent.
It was such a brief encounter ... no names were given.


Miz S,
That is mostly true, but this time I tossed out a cubic zirconium of knowledge.


Cindy,
You would be too much fun on this trip..., but after the baby gets here. I should organize a staff trip.


Robin,
Me too! He has no awareness of the looming dark.

Patio,
I'm sure he was thinking the turtle equivalent of that!


Felicia,
It was! Even for Miss Brenda, the boat captain. She had never caught one either!


Sit A Spell,
It was really neat and yes, my camera is never far from me.


Jean,
Uh oh. I can only ball park it, but I think under 5 years and I'm really stepping out into estimation land.

jojo said...

AWESOME. AWESOME PICTURE. and a green and loggerhead are different because? (besides the scutes).... :)

The Florida Blogger said...

She's a pretty one, PF. Never know what kids are capable of, even if they did get lucky.

Valerie said...

You guys are so lucky! Your kids won't forget that! Aren't sea turtles that size not found very often? The elusive dinner plate size?

Floridacracker said...

JOJO,
Shell shape, head shape and size. Greens get bigger too. We see mostly loggerheads around here.

FB,
You changed your title? Yeah, these kids should have bought a lotto ticket that day.


Val,
I would agree with that. It seems I usually see much bigger ones. But of course, this grass is a nursery for so many species, it kinda makes sense.

threecollie said...

Beautiful, fabulous, wonderful!!

Dani said...

I'm still in awe!! Wish all your readers could have been out on that boat too.

edifice rex said...

Oh, WOW!!! its' beautiful!!! that is SO cool.

cinbad122 said...

I should just go with you next time. The math teacher with most of your kids anyhow!

Ericka said...

SOOOO cool!

i'm horrible - i always want to maul the wildlife, even though i know it's bad for them. i usually manage to restrain myself, but that is the perfect opportunity! touch him/her, say hi, snap photos and then back off to the deep. they'll never forget.

tai haku said...

Intersting post FC - I've only ever seen one that size in the seagrass too

LaDivaCucina said...

Wow! What a beauty! How cool! I love when special things like that happen!

I was sailing on a small catamaran with hubby down in Key Largo last year and out of the corner of my eye, I saw this big head come out of the water. It was really ugly and looked like an alien and then I realized it was a big sea turtle, looking around. It's head went under quickly and it was gone!

I love when stuff like this happens!

Danielles Garden said...

awesome!

Boss Gator said...

FC- Yup, we did fairly well. Couple keeper grouper, seabass galore, grunts galore, a toad fish, and my buddy unknowingly hooked the biggest nurse shark I have ever seen. She was pushing 10 foot.

R.Powers said...
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