February 9th, 2011
In the spirit of Tortuga Lagoon Swashbuckler 2011 our turtles have been re-released into our Game Fish Lagoon (GFL). The water has been maintaining temperatures in the mid 70’s and the turtles were ready to be free of their hot tubs and enjoy the larger swimming space of 750,000 gallons.
Turt was the first turtle back in the lagoon on February 3rd. He is the most rambunctious of the three and was so anxious about going back in the GFL he took off like a rocket when we placed him in the water. He immediately started swimming laps around the feeding area so everyone could see what a great swimmer he was and even munched on a few pieces of squid that had made their way down to the bottom during the fish feeding. Turt’s weight was 80.5lbs when he was released into the lagoon which means he gained about three pounds since his placement in the hot tubs. There are a few spots you can commonly find Turt in the GFL- first is his favorite resting spot, which is the drainage grate closest to the nursery with his flippers tucked under him. Next is his workout zone where he likes to do pushups on the back overflow wall near the Cassiopeia (upside down jellyfish). And third is swimming around the feeding area so everyone can get a good look at him and steal the attention away from the fish feeding program…he’s such a ham. When identifying Turt in the lagoon some good cues are his size. He is smaller then Lily but larger then Hank, his shell is very dark, and if a turtle is being trained by the platform - it is more than likely Turt.
Lily was the second turtle released in the lagoon on February 8th. This is her first time in the GFL because the water was already cold on her arrival day in December. She is our largest at 122 lbs and can be identified by her large head (hence the name Loggerhead) and her orange and brown carapace. She also has two gray weights attached to the back end of her carapace. We used to put blue crabs in the GFL for the nurse sharks but they never seemed too enthralled with actually chasing down their food, so it will be interesting to see if Lily is able to find the crabs and gobble them up. Loggerheads love food with a big crunch like crabs, lobsters and other animals with shells those big jaws and head adds to her crushing power.
Hank was the last turtle to go into the GFL on February 8th. Hank has been in the lagoon before, but was limited to a small pen while he adjusted to his new home. He now has free range of the entire lagoon just like Turt and Lily. Hank was always pretty antsy and skittish in the blue tanks because of the loud noises and voices of all the people interested in seeing him, so this move will hopefully allow him to keep a comfortable distance from whomever he chooses and in result, mellow out. Hank can be identified as the smallest turtle at 46 lbs with a two toned carapace - darker near his head and very light towards the back.