Our gulf waters abound with sea life, and this last week I had a chance to get up close and personal with one of our local marine creatures. The Turtle Club has begun partnering with the sea turtle conservation program at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, and I was invited to participate in the release of a Kemps Ridley sea turtle that was rehabliitated in Florida after ingesting oil during the BP oil spill in Louisiana. We motored out into the ten thousand islands off of Marco Island on a beautiful calm and sunny day with a small Ridley and a very large Ridley. After we arrived just off of Turtle Key (so named because Turtles congregate at that location) we gently released each of the sea turtles and watched as they tentatively returned to the Gulf after many months of confinement and rehabilitation. As the entered the water it took a minute or two for them to get adjusted, and then they quickly adapted and sped away under water.
It was a rare treat to participate in helping such magnificent creatures and to get a glimpse of the work that conservationists and marine biologists are involved in every day. The experience served to remind me that we usually never hear the end of the story when we see images of marine animals in distress as a result of ecological disasters. There are people who spend their entire careers helping hurt animals and many of these animals can and do return to their natural environment as a result of their efforts.
I was also reminded about how beautiful our natural resources in Southwest Florida are and how lucky we are to live in a place where pristine wilderness, such as the ten thousand islands and the Everglades, is only a short drive away. Spending even a little time in these magical areas makes you appreciate life. We regularly arrange for our guests to visit these natural wonders and we often receive glowing reports when they return.
When I walk out in front of the resort and scan the Gulf waters I now have been staring a little longer than usual. I am hoping to see a small sea turtle head surface for a breath. I know that they are out there enjoying the Gulf waters as much as we do. Welcome home little turtle. Take care and stop by to visit once in a while.
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