I Saved a Sea Turtle’s Life

This past Monday morning, as I was combing the beach for treasures one last time before heading home, I thought I spotted something worth investigating further, in the deep piles of Sargasso seaweed. It was only a shoe with barnacles on it. Unfortunately, there were many such shoes up and down Surfside Beach this weekend, but I’ll get to that later.

As I began wandering back to the sand, I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, something white…did it just move?

buried and exhausted

buried and exhausted

I couldn’t believe my eyes. Is that a turtle? Oh my gosh, it’s alive. I screamed over the winds, for my mother, who was picking up trash and treasure along the dunes. “Mom, hurry up, come here, I’ve found a turtle!!”

She arrived and with her poking stick, I carefully removed the seaweed to expose it’s white shiny belly. I just could not believe this surreal moment was actually upon us!

Poor lil' fella

Poor lil’ fella

I then convinced my Mama that we should at least flip him over, so he wouldn’t feel the need to struggle any further, and then I stayed with the turtle while she ran back to the hotel and retrieved her cell phone and alert the hotel of the situation. They assisted her in contacting the right people, who would arrive two hours later to rescue the turtle.

The turtle probably rode in with the tide and then got caught in the massive amount of seaweed that had amassed since the last dozing took place last Tuesday or Wednesday. This is according to the kind Surfside Beach City worker who was cleaning trash along the beach. While Mama was about her business, I noticed two city workers down the beach opposite the hotel. I hollered at them and they continued to work their way towards me. When the younger of the two got within hearing range, he immediately came over and then called the city. This was big stuff.

Little did I know at the time, this little turtle was an endangered Green Sea Turtle. On record, the only other sea turtle found on that beach had already died by the time it washed up, tangled in fishing net. Lucky for this little fellow, he did not face the same fate.



Green Sea Turtles prefer warm, tropical waters. They can live to be 80 plus years old and will grow up to 700 pounds. That last fact blew my mind. My marine biologist friend also informed me that sea turtles main diet source is jelly fish, and because plastic is clear like the jelly fish are, turtles will bite into plastic, which carry toxins that will shorten their lifespan and can even kill them. Out of all the turtle autopsies he performed during his university days, he said he never saw one turtle stomach without plastic inside. That’s very sad.

I am elated that I have assisted that sweet, beautiful turtle, and that it will grow very big and have a very long life. It was taken to the National Marine Fisheries Services headquarters where they will thoroughly examine the healthy looking turtle, that was probably dehydrated, and eventually it will be released back into the waters.

The amount of trash my mother and I saw on the beach this weekend, weighed heavy on my heart. So I wrote the following. I hope you consider sharing this with your family and friends, so we can all remember to take better care of our planet. We only have this one.

I want to say something about my beach experience that I would like you all to seriously consider passing on.

The first evening that Mom and I spent on the beach, we were saddened by all the trash left behind by inconsiderate humans. I suggested that we spend one of our walks picking up trash along the way, just to make a dent and she agreed, saying that she’s done that many times in the past. (I get it from my Mama, you see.)

Everyday, we combed the beach for treasure. We found many sea beans, sea lily pods, a few sad shells (lol, Texas beachers will totally understand this), drift wood, remaining wreckage from Ike (YES, it’s still floating around…the beach has shrunk for good, and erosion continues daily.), assorted floats the size of a coconut, and yes, Sunday morning, I found A COCONUT, LOL! But I also found all the buckets and tools needed to build that sand castle you saw, as well as SO MUCH TRASH IT COULD FILL 20 50-gallon drums! And if you noticed in my pictures, there were at least 10 50-gallon drum-trashcans out for public use.

see the blue trashcans?  Apparently many people don't!

see the blue trashcans? Apparently many people don’t!

There were barely 50 people out there on the busiest day.

Mother’s Day evening, we took a long walk on the beach. We wanted to get to the two remaining houses that now stand in the water. There were actually two more roads and another row of houses all along that beach, but Ike tore them up and only two lone houses remain. It’s more than haunting. No stairs, busted windows, but standing as a reminder to all who grew up there, of what used to be.

As we walked along, the sun began to set. We saw a blanket here, a pair of shoes there and I mused aloud, “Surely, they will be back for those.” As we continued towards the house in the water, our eyes were mostly set on the waves and the frighteningly thick band of seaweed that was just a slight nuisance our first night there. But as we began to walk back, we began to notice all the things people left behind.

SO MUCH TRASH…but they also left behind so much treasure. I just didn’t understand. We came to a table and our motherly instinct kicked into high gear. At first, we muttered things like, “Have they no shame?” and “What the hell is wrong with people?” (that was me, not mom, lol) But there was absolutely no way we could walk any further. We kicked into high gear-Mom style and began our mission.

We picked up enough trash to fill two of those trash cans to the top. Water bottles, partially drank and empty. A charcoal bag (which came in handy for collecting the obscene amount of trash). Two grocery bags, tons of water bottles, chip bags, both full and empty, a water gun, a fishing hat, 2 kites (broken/discarded), a perfectly good black towel, and more. So disappointed with humanity. If we don’t take care of our planet, no one will. It is truly up to each of us to clean up after ourselves, especially in nature, and in parks. Littering is a crime, and it is bad news for the animals…please be considerate of our planet, our animals, and our fellow man.

I built this entire castle using disgarded buckets. shovels, a mold and a rake.  Do you see the toothbrush?  Who brushes their teeth on the beach?

I built this entire castle using disgarded buckets. shovels, a mold and a rake. Do you see the toothbrush? Who brushes their teeth on the beach?

I loved the program our old church offered children. It was called LEAVE NO TRACE. It can’t get any clearer. Leave the animals alone (unless they are hurt and need help, or they are to be your food.), do not damage their habitat (trees, grasses, waters {stop throwing trash in the water!!!}), and if you alter anything while on your visit, fix it, and clean up after yourself, as if you were never there.

Future generations (YOUR CHILDREN/GRANDCHILDREN and so on), will appreciate the consideration.

I also wrote this in memory of my experience and insight from this weekend:

My deepest thought while at the beach… dare to go there…lol

As I sat before the waves, I pondered the peace it brings, while yet there is no peace to be found within the churning waves and sand, ever ebbing and flowing, in a rushed fashion. And yet beyond the madness of the roaring waves, in the cool waters, there is peace to be found. The circle of life continues it’s beautiful spiral.

Still, their lives are threatened. By us…by the environment…by the changes below the surface even…there is no true peace there either.

Mother's Day church service...just me, the pelicans and God!

Mother’s Day church service…just me, the pelicans and God!

And if I dared to take my eyes from the horizon, from the raging Gulf tides, and turned to my left or my right, I would find my own peace rattled by a piece of trash, or possibly a nearby human’s animalistic behavior. There is no peace to be found on the lower plain.

Peace can only be found, true, everlasting peace, in one place.

The hands that made the trees and the birds and the fish in the sea. The hands that made you and made me. Those hands that were nailed to the tree, where He was bruised, and bled and suffered for you and me. Those hands are the only way you can truly attain everlasting peace. That peace is a gift through the Holy Spirit and acts as an anchor for your soul in times of great grief and despair.

Just as the animals above and below the surface fight for survival on a daily basis, our own life struggles are many, they just appear less savage on the surface. Well, in some cases anyways. Sometimes, we face horrific experiences, but even through these, His peace is there at your disposal. Will you pick it up and claim it as your own, or will you let it fly away in the wind?

The depth of this thought continued. Just as we look on towards the aquamarine horizon and the wind almost forces the smile to break forth from our hearts to our lips, and forces our eyes open wider to ALL OF HIS GLORIOUS SPLENDOR, being healed instantly by the chaotic, erratic, completely unpredictable, hypnotic dance of the waves, God looks down on us, in the very midst of our own chaotic lives, as we dance to the beat of our drum or His…and He Smiles.

He knows the end of our crazy tale of heartbreak and surrender. He holds the key in His hand. Reach out and take the keys of the kingdom. His Peace is the key that unlocks a steady beat. His Joy is the key that adds grace to your feet. His Love gives you wings when you are broken with in. And His blood is the gift that will wash away your sin.

Freedom is found WITHIN.

May you be blessed this day and put into practice the reception of communion.

Here is a story reporting the rescue:

Until next time, this is the Crazy Chicken Lady signing OFF!