Don't-Miss Pics of Sea Turtles Swimming Home


Guest Grit post by Alexandria Antonacci (right)


{Scranton, Pennsylvania native, Alexandria Antonacci is currently working on her master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Missouri, Columbia. She received her BA in Journalism at Robert Morris University in Moon Township, Pennsylvania. She is an avid photojournalist who likes to travel the world and take pictures. This week, she took pictures of her favorite sea animal, turtles.}






I've always loved turtles, but my obsession has gotten a little out of control since moving to Charleston for the summer. I live in a West Ashley development where wild turtles roam from small creek to little pond in search of a good swim. Multiple times I've stopped my car in the middle of the road to help a turtle cross the street. My Instagram account is bursting with turtle shots. My mom just got me a I


So it's no surprise that I was there Wednesday when the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Hospital released three turtles at the Isle of Palms County Park. The day before, which happened to be my birthday, I begged my supervisors to let me come into work late the next day. "Oh, she must be planning to party all night," I'm sure they thought. Nope, I wanted to take pictures of sea turtles. Which I did. And here they are... 



Above, Lexi Mechem, a hospital volunteer, and Mike Arendt, a biologist for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, prepare to carry Splinter, a 65-pound Loggerhead sea turtle, down to the ocean. Splinter got his name from a splinter he had in his right rear flipper when admitted to the the Aquarium's Sea Turtle Hospital, but it ended up actually being the tip of a swordfish bill (ouch). 




Splinter recovered quickly though, and now knows not to mess with swordfish. 




Even dogs came out to watch the turtle release.




Nothing's better than sunbathing before a long swim.



Oh no. Duck!



Another turtle, Sutton, was found in the Cape Cod area cold-stunned with hypothermia. Now that he's all thawed out he's got no problem waving at all the people who came to cheer him on.



Superturtle? Sutton poses for the adoring crowd.



The third turtle, Raker, was saved by the Myrtle Beach rakers who pick up litter from the beach every morning. With a cold body temp, bad blood work, and a shell infection, Raker needed some serious R&R. 



(from left to right) Intern Clarrisa Bowman, Sea Turtle Rescue Program Coordinator Kelly Thorvalson, and intern Megan Kelly with Raker and Sutton.



Raker's released. Ready, set, swim!



Deep breath.




Last turtle release of the day, people! Sutton's ready to catch up with Raker.





All the fellow turtle lovers—check out that crowd!