The baby turtles when small typically rest in seaweed clumps until they are strong enough to swim in the ocean currents and survive. The floating turtle boats that are the savior of the babies turned out to be the instrument of one turtle’s adventure around the globe. A Ridley sea turtle that was given the name Johnny spent the last several years in the care of benefactors in Europe. He has arrived back in the Gulf of Mexico after being on European shores for approximately three years.
The baby turtle was swept away by the current when hatched and traveled around the globe on its little boat of seaweed. The turtle washed ashore and has been rehabilitated and cared for by European caretakers during the time the turtle has been on foreign shores. The turtle was given the name Johnny by its’ caretakers during rehab and was later given “Vasca da Gama,” after the Portuguese legendary explorer.
It all began in 2008 when the just hatched baby turtle was floating on seaweed in the Gulf of Mexico. Baby Johnny floated along in the Gulf but was grabbed by the current and pulled into the Gulf Stream where his adventure began and eventually took him to his European destination. The Gulf Stream is a very strong swift Atlantic current that begins near the tip of Florida and continues around the east coast before crossing the Atlantic Ocean. Johnny was caught up in this current and it carried him to his benefactors across the ocean.
The overseas zoo marine cared for the animal until he was again healthy and able to maintain on his own. The determination of his origin posed a completely different set of issues that complicated the efforts to get him back home again. Johnny became entangled in the red tape of international law around the transportation of endangered species which prevented freely moving the animal from Europe back to the Gulf.
The good news is that the red tape was finally addressed and in November, the turtle arrived in Miami and was placed into the warm waters off Lido Key, Florida to being re-adjusting to life in the open seas of the Gulf of Mexico.