Cold, wispy winds didn’t hinder the release of two rescued turtles at Honeymoon Island State Park Tuesday morning.
Small, white caps tipped the waves nipping at the seawall, inviting “Hold Up,” an endangered Kemp's Ridley, and "Fat Albert," a juvenile green sea turtle rehabilitated by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, back to the water.
Mike Anderson, who heads the aquarium’s turtle program, said the turtles came to the aquarium with different needs.
First in the water was Hold Up. The little Kemp's Ridley sea turtle was rescued after being found with a fishing hook in its mouth near the Redington Long Pier. He got his name because he came to the aquarium at the end of a Sunday shift, holding up staff from leaving for the day, Anderson said with a laugh.
Hold Up’s injury was not serious, and the hook came right out, Anderson said. He stayed about a week.
“He’s not happy about the cold water,” Anderson said as he slipped the turtle into the Intracoastal Waterway near the Honeymoon Island park ranger’s quarters. “It will warm up by this afternoon.”
Anderson said the windy conditions should also help keep boaters off the water.
Next up for release was Albert.
The juvenile green sea turtle was found gasping for air and struggling to swim about 200 yards from Honeymoon Island in May. He suffered from buoyancy issues and fibropapilloma tumors. Because of his bloated belly, rescuers gave him the name Fat Albert.
These are the sixth and seventh turtles released by the aquarium this year. Staff and volunteers released Drew, a 135-pound loggerhead, last week on Clearwater Beach.
See Also, the Photo Gallery: Photo Gallery: Two Rescued Sea Turtles Set Free at Honeymoon Island
- Sick Sea Turtle Rescued Off Honeymoon Island
- Sea Turtle Drawn Back to Water
- Debby Doesn’t Curtail Record Setting Turtle Nesting Season
*updated 8:41 a.m. Oct. 31, 2012