SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — With almost every patient Sea Turtle Inc. staff help rehabilitate, there comes that bitter-sweet moment when they decide it’s time to bid farewell and release them back to their ocean-home.
Tomorrow afternoon, community members will be able to take a boat ride and witness one of the nonprofit’s latest patients return back to the sea.
However, this adventure will not only be a turtle release.
Participants will be able to enjoy a cruise in the bay and look for dolphins while watching the sunset.
Additionally, people will be able to see the star of the show, Redd and hear the turtle’s story.
In August, a nine-pound Atlantic green sea turtle was found stranded at the jetties near Isla Blanca Park covered with fishing line and had a hook piercing its right front flipper.
Most green sea turtles like Redd are often found at the jetties because they like to eat algae off the rocks in that area.
Rehabilitation intern Chris Gorman was the one who rescued Redd from the fishing line he was trapped in.
“It’s very exciting and kind of emotional to see the whole process from the day we picked up Redd and to seeing it go through the rehab process all the way to the point where now Redd’s able to be released,” he said.
Sea Turtle Inc. Licensed Veterinary Technician Nina Nahvi said a lot of the times, people cut the fishing line off of the turtles they hook. However, this isn’t the best choice to make.
“Quite often, turtles in these situations have hooks in their body or other issues so it’s much better to not cut the line and instead call our Sea Turtle Inc. hotline right away so we can get out there,” Nahvi said.
Based on the turtle’s weight, veterinary technicians determined it was less than 5 years old. Green sea turtles like Redd don’t reach sexual maturity until they’re about 20 to 25 years old.
For about a month and a half, rehabilitation staff had Redd undergo a regimen of cold laser therapy and applied medical grade Manuka honey on the turtle’s fishing hook wound to help it heal.
However, thanks to Redd’s healthy condition on arrival, the turtle didn’t have too long of a stay at Sea Turtle Inc.
Throughout the turtle’s stay it was very active, alert and had healthy blood levels with a great appetite.
Overall, Nahvi said there’s nothing quite like the feeling of releasing a sea turtle back to their homes.
“I’m basically just taking care of injured sea turtles, which is my dream job. But the absolute best part of my job is the releases because that’s everything that we work toward in the rehabilitation department,” Nahvi said. “Sometimes it can be a little bit bitter-sweet, but it makes all of our rehabilitation department know that it’s all worth it in the end when we get to see the turtles swim off for the last time.”
If You Go
Who — Sea Turtle Inc.
What — Rehabilitated Sea Turtle Boat Release
When — Saturday at 4:45 p.m.
Where — The Original Dolphin Watch 1 Padre Boulevard
Cost — $10 per person
Reservation — To make a reservation call Original Dolphin Watch/American Diving at (956) 761-4243.
If you come across a stranded or injured sea turtle, call Sea Turtle Inc.’s 24-hour stranding hotline at (956) 243-4361.