Just got back in and wanted to drop a quick post on the days adventure since we had such an unusual encounter with a Leatherback Sea Turtle. A very rare and unusual occurrence and a tremendous lucky encounter for all of us!!!! I won’t forget this day for quite a while if ever!
We boarded the boat as usual at the ramp and the regular group of us were joined by McKenzie’s sister AdventureMegan. And off we went. Little did we know that just a minute or two later we would be having an incredible encounter with an extremely large Leatherback Sea Turtle in very shallow water INSIDE the Lake Worth Lagoon!
Leatherback Sea turtles are the worlds largest living reptiles and can be over 7 feet long and weigh upwards of 2000lbs. Its the only sea turtle that lacks a hard bony shell or carapace. Leatherbacks lack the crushing chewing plates characteristic of sea turtles that feed on hard-bodied prey. Instead, they have pointed tooth-like cusps and sharp edged jaws that are perfectly adapted for a diet of soft-bodied pelagic (open ocean) prey, such as jellyfish and salps. A leatherback’s mouth and throat also have backward-pointing spines that help retain such gelatinous prey. They are one of the rarest sea turtles to be encountered here, and were we LUCKY!!!.
We had just passed underneath the Blue Heron Bridge heading east along the sandbar when out of the corner of my eye I saw a tremendous swirl in the water just a few feet off the beach from Phil Foster Park. I looked closer and noticed a tremendous head lift up out of the water and take a quick breath. I recognized it instantly as that of a Leatherback Sea Turtle and was quick to shout out to the kids to take a look. We were so lucky!!! I have seen only 4 or 5 leatherback sea turtles in my life and always far offshore in the Ocean. Never within the intercoastal waterway in shallow crystal clear water. I know this is the time of year the females come ashore to lay eggs and somehow I believe this one may have mistakenly swam in the inlet on its way to the beach and was looking to find its way back out.
How wonderful for us, this will probably be a once in a lifetime encounter for all of us!!!!! I have lived here my whole life, spent thousands of hours on and under the water and have never seen nor heard of one being seen where we were! We followed her from a safe distance behind as she hurriedly made her way into the deeper water of the Palm Beach Inlet and headed back offshore. We were so excited and shouts of joy from all of us could be heard every time she came up for a breathe. I had a chance to take just a few photos before she disappeared. I didn’t want this moment to ever end!!! It was magnificent for all of us and I will forever feel blessed that we were given this rare and unusual opportunity!!! Still smiling thinking about it and how special for this group of Adventurers to witness such a magnificent and beautiful animal. I know all of us will never pass by this same area again without thinking of this moment and how special we felt at that time. WOW!!! still comes to mind! AdventureMickey I’m sure will never forget this week, first time on a boat, first time fishing, first fish ever caught, first Leatherback Sea turtle 5 feet from his nose…. Does it get any better than this? Hard to imagine… How cool is that?
After this encounter we decided to take a run down the Ocean side of the beach along palm Beach Island. It was an absolutely flat calm day with crystal clear water. Absolutely beautiful and just perfect!! We spent an hour shelling and snorkeling along the beach and found some beautiful Scotch Bonnets, Measel Cowries and some nice pectens. Really nice finds if your a sheller like me!
From here I decided to take the group for a quick run out to look for flying fish to show AdventureMickey and the group. We spotted a few and on the way back to the Inlet we saw 2 loggerhead sea turtles relaxing on the surface and catching their breath before taking another deep dive to the bottom. It was really great to see 2 species of Sea Turtles in one day and up close and personal at that! It just doesn’t get any better than that for a new group of Adventurers!
From here we took a quick snorkel at the Rock Garden, found some really nice green mantis shrimp and coral crabs under rocks and went to the Big Sandbar and spent the last half hour playing in the shallows, looking for starfish and just having FUN! When it was time to head back, I can tell you nobody was ready to go, not even me. We were having too much fun and today was such a cool day we didn’t want it to end!!! One thing I just love about doing this camp is you just never know what you might discover. Each day seems to hold a new treasure waiting to be discovered and shared, and when I see the smiles on the kids faces and know they are having the time of their life, I just LOVE IT!!!! Leaves me longing for more, and one things certain….
I can’t wait till tomorrow!!! Another day of Adventure!!! Another day in PARADISE!!!! Another day sharing what I love MOST!!!! Its going to be GREAT!!! RIGHT ON!!!!! Next time I hope you’ll join us!!!
LET’S GO HAVE SOME FUN!!!