Today is release day for my latest book, Sauvignon Blanc to Sigh For. While I’m bubbling over with excitement and wanting to talk about it, I’m going to set it aside for a moment to shine a bright light on some incredible people I met while cruising.
We met Barbara Hoagland and her husband, Jorge Southworth, two Floridians, while docked in Saugatuck, a beautiful little town on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. We cruised together for nearly a month, then parted in Kentucky Lakes when they sailed off in another direction to visit with family members.
They’re now in Marathon, in the Florida Keys, and on the way there they had an incredible adventure.
Navigating through a sea of lobster pots, they spotted a giant turtle in distress. He was tangled in the wires marking the location of three cages, struggling as he moved. Apparently all three were wrapped around his body and he dragged them as he tried to swim.
They anchored, got in their dinghy with scissors and wire cutters, but soon realized they needed help. They called a turtle rescue center and were instructed to follow the animal until help arrived.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission sent a boat, as did the Coast Guard. It took several strong arms to heft the 330 lb. Green Sea Turtle on board the coast guard vessel and to free it from the wires. It was taken to Marathon where they actually have a turtle hospital, probably because this happens a lot.
His back flipper was damaged and required surgery. Giving him the name, Jolly, the turtle underwent a partial amputation of the back flipper, but the good news is he recovered and will be able to function. Apparently the front flippers are the important ones for turtles.
Barbara and Jorge were able to visit Jolly in his giant tank at the turtle hospital. Doing well, he will soon be released back into the wild.
Kudos to these two eco-heroes who took the time out of their journey to tend to a sea creature in distress.