Wednesday, August 27, 2008

It's a Small World for Turtle Folks

The nephew of the Meihofers in Melbourne Beach wrote to report the following adventure he had in New York: (click on the photos to enlarge)

"I took the boat out to Montauk yesterday to do a little fluke fishing. I was fishing in the ocean about 5 miles west of the lighthouse in about 60 feet of water. I saw a large dark head pop out of the water. It was the size of a human head. It turned out to be several very large sea turtles actively feeding on an abundance of jellyfish I saw while I was fishing. There were both Lion’s mane and moon jellyfish all over the place. I am not sure which they were eating but they were hanging around the same spot popping their heads up and occasionally thrashing around at the surface. When they came up for air it sounded like a dolphin breathing. I have never seen this type of sea turtle before. I thought they were Loggerheads but I found some info online and I matched them to be Leatherbacks. I would guess they were 5 to 6 feet long. I saw 3 or 4 in that one spot but then I saw another one just off the point. I took the pictures attached. I was drifting and one turtle swam right for me and dove right under the back of the boat. It was really a thrill to see these beautiful animals doing their thing in the beautiful clear ocean water off Montauk. I hope they will pay you a visit when they nest."

We thank Greg for sharing the photos, the Meihofers for sharing the photos and the writeup with Donna Braunlich of the Sea Turtle Preservation Society, and Donna for sending everything to me. Just goes to show - it's a small world for turtle folks!

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