Sunday, July 26, 2009

Tour de Turtles 2009

If you've watched the 2008 Tour de Turtles slideshow in the right-hand column of this blog, you know it involved affixing a transmitter to the back of an annoyed sea turtle, after which the turtle headed gratefully for the ocean, to the applause of onlookers. But this annual event is more than just an excuse for a good party - it's a combination fundraiser/ scientific exploration/ educational event for the Caribbean Conservation Corporation (CCC). Faithful readers will remember the June 15th post about Dr. Archie Carr, the founding scientific director of the CCC, which this year marked its 50th year of sea turtle conservation efforts.

This second annual CCC Tour de Turtles: a sea turtle migration marathon, is a three-month-long event that tracks 10 individual sea turtles from 10 different locations leaving their nesting beaches as they "race" to be the first to complete the marathon (1,628 miles from their nesting beaches). Each is swimming for a cause to raise awareness about a specific threat to sea turtles. Corporate sponsors and partners are featured on the CCC website, where a very clever map shows the progress of each sea turtle. Last year, our Belle 'o Brevard came in at second place, traveling 1180 miles to Delaware.
Brevard voters this year picked Bree Varda as a name for our sea turtle "contestant." Consider this your engraved invitation to join the release festivities on Friday, July 31, at the Barrier Island Center in the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge. CCC and University of Central Florida researchers will attach a satellite transmitter on a loggerhead sea turtle starting at 8 a.m. (The turtle will have been detained the night before, after she has deposited her eggs. She will not be happy.) Amongst other things, this is an excellent opportunity to see one of these magnificent critters up close and personal. (That red stuff on her shell is not blood - it's the epoxy used to attach the transmitter.)
The Barrier Island Center is located on Highway A1A, about 4 miles to the north of Sebastian Inlet, or about 14 miles south of the Melbourne Causeway. Be sure to wear a hat and take water - it will be hot and it will be sunny - trust me! It is, by the way, FREE!
If you can't attend, you can watch the action live via a webcast on
A Silent Auction and Social is scheduled for Thursday night, 30 July, 6:00 p.m. at the Center - I've seen a list of some of the silent auction articles, and there are some dandies. Green Turtle Marketplace (how appropriate is that!) is catering light appetizers. Cost is $15 for adults, $10 for children. You can purchase tickets online at or call Rocio at 352-373-6441. We had a great time at last year's event.
At last year's release, I burned the top of my head. So for Friday morning's release, remember the hat and water advise. This is great fun - you'll leave with a smile on your face when you think of Bree hitting that water!
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