Friday, July 22, 2016

A Turtle Named Madison

This sea turtle is named Madison.  True story!  Madison was released today at around noon right around Beach Street at Ponce Inlet.  We just so happened to be at the Marine Center yesterday when the lady giving a speech about turtles asked us to join the volunteers to see the release of two turtles at noon today.  So we got our things ready this morning, and headed south to the beach there, where we saw the volunteers getting things ready.  It wasn't too much later that the stars of the day arrived, two turtles named Nantucket and Madison.  Both had been found earlier in the year, both lethargic and sickly with conditions that required immediate care.  The platform of course is rescue, rehabilitation and release.  Yesterday, we got to see several sea turtles in their tanks and in the rehabilitation phase.  Today, it was time to see some actually get released!

Here's a picture of Nantucket, who was clearly the larger turtle.  She is sixty-six pounds, and thanks to the effort of the Marine Center here, she's swimming healthy and free once more.  It took about four volunteers to hoist her out of the vehicle and walk her to the shore, but what a sight it was.  We watched as she was set down, and then made her way into the ocean waves.  It was really sweet.

And what a neat extra touch that the smaller turtle just so happened to be named Madison!  It was a very nice moment indeed, one that we all enjoyed seeing together.

This morning, there was another sweet moment:  the arrival of the Tooth Fairy to Daytona Shores.  Previously, the Tooth Fairy found us in the Caribbean, so it stands to reason that she could find us here at the beach as well.  Last night, Madison lost her tooth at about 9:30 pm, showing it off proudly to us.  So under her pillow the tooth went, inside a bag.  Amazingly, this morning, the bag contained a few dollars - and a few sand dollars as well!  Since we were at the beach, there were four sand dollars inside the bag.  These can't be spent anywhere, necessarily, but they're really nice souvenirs, right?

But today's adventures didn't stop there.  Later on, we were out to play some mini-golf, and there were plenty of places to choose from here at this tourist destination.  We chose pirates.  When in doubt, go with pirates.  Actually, a rule of thumb is to generally go with pirates no matter what!

Here's the Queen Pirate herself, sitting in her throne.  They had this set up at the earliest part of the course.  As you can see behind, it's got the standard 'mountain' that has a few holes on it, and inside as well, where there's a cave to play a hole.

What's pretty cool here is that you can literally see the ocean from the course, and hear the waves as well.  Sure, there's traffic and so forth from the main road.  But the ocean is right there, and we arrived at a time that there were no other golfers yet.  When we were done, there were plenty of others arriving, but for about 18 holes, we had the course nearly to ourselves.  It was really nice, and the next time we come down here, we'll probably not even think about the other golf course options.  Again, pirates.

We spent a good deal of time today at the pool, and a good deal of time walking along the beach.  Both of these have become regular occurrences.  Madison is vigilant about filling in holes she finds at the beach, making sure the little turtles have a flat exit to the ocean just in case they should come out of their nest nearby.  It was a pleasant walk tonight, the weather cooler in the evenings, particularly with the ocean breeze.  It was somewhat of a goodbye to the ocean too, as we'll have to pack up and leave tomorrow.  It's been fun though, and we're rested and ready to return.

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