Turtle-lympics, turtle-mentaries, and turtle-omedy

There is so much happening in the world of sea turtles right now that we’re going to dedicate an entire week of postings to sea turtles and their air breathing kin. We’re calling it Megavertebrate Week. Note the new banner above. We argue that turtles, seals, and whales should all be considered denizens of the deep because 1) they traverse deep waters while migrating, and 2) they regularly descend to depths greater than 200m. Expect a few curveballs about deep diving animals you might not expect.

We introduced the turtle problem last week in a clarion call about a letter to the Pope. Through that effort, Deep Sea News helped to generate 1500 letters to the Vatican asking them to remind Catholics turtles are not fish. That should save us all a few years in Purgatory. Still, that was just the tip of the iceberg…

Here’s the latest headlines from Turtle-opolis…


1. Voyage of the Lonely Turtle – 8pm Sunday on PBS

Don’t miss it. Mark your calendar. A loggerhead turtle journeys 9000 miles across the Pacific to nest. The documentary stars turtles, hammerheads, and DSN friend and neighbor J. Nichols of the Ocean Conservancy and Ocean Revolution. J’s one of the luckiest scientists I know. His first satellite tagged sea turtle Adelita traversed the entire Pacific, from Baja to Japan . To reciprocate J and his family walked the entire Pacific West Coast to raise money for an NGO. Voyage of the Lonely Turtle is a ‘don’t miss’ big ocean documentary.

2. The Great Turtle Race – www.GreatTurtleRace.com

In the most ingenious conservation fund raising idea ever, a dozen satellite tagged sea leatherback sea turtles will be released simulataneously from the shores of Costa Rica. Leatherback turtles in the Pacific have declined 90% over the last decade. These deep diving sea turtles are in dire need of help. Pick a turtle and place a wager. Turtles are sponsored by Yahoo!, Travelocity, West Marine and others. The event begins April 16th and runs until April 29th.

3. The Colbert Report enters the Turtle-lympics

Last night on Comedy Central’s Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert led the show with an animated monologue about The Great Turtle Race and the leatherback that has been named in his honor by student researchers at Playa Grande. (The turtle’s name is Stephanie Colburtle.)

Peter Etnoyer (397 Posts)

PhD candidate at Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi and doctoral fellow Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies.


9 Replies to “Turtle-lympics, turtle-mentaries, and turtle-omedy”

  1. Will there be a corresponding microbe week in the future? You know what they say…”beware of charismatic megafauna”…which from a microbial perspective includes invertebrates…DSN doesn’t descriminate against single celled organisms, right?

  2. I saw voyage of the lonely turtle last night. Great stuff, i loved the footage, especially the seamounts. I thought that croc got the sea turtle towards the end and was about ready to start balling! After all that work to have it end in those unforgiving jaws! But it was a different turtle… whew…

  3. Lonely Turtle was a good documentary with a good story. It obviously effected you emotionally. That’s a testament to quality. My favorite footage was the blacktip shark frenzy.

    I’m curious about the seamounts, though, because the scale seemed wrong. The steep pinnacles reminded me more of shallow (~100ft) banks offshore Southern California. The peak of El Bajo seamount in the Sea of Cortez is shallow diving depth. Maybe that was it.

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