I’m sending you this message-in-a-bottle from somewhere in the Caribbean, as I paddle into the final leg of the Great Turtle Race.
Usually, when I write to you, it’s to complain. This time is no different.
I know leatherbacks are supposed to be tough, but I’ve been flapping like a moth for three thousand miles. Or is it nautical miles? Whatever – I’m blitzed!
The other day I gulped down a jellyfish, only to realize it was actually a bag from the dry cleaners. It was all right – certainly better than nothing – but I need some calories here!
Plus, with global warming, the water feels all tepid. It’s just not refreshing. Nobody wants to swim in cold water, but you know what? It’s refreshing. This stuff is not refreshing.
Now, brace yourself for some scary news: Some pirates tried to snag me with a grappling hook.
I wasn’t going to tell you, but I didn’t want you to hear it from JoAnne and get all worried.
These pirates were not your dashing, Johnny Depp-style pirates. They wore dirty T-shirts and cutoffs, and their jewelry looked like something you’d buy in a gas station.
Fortunately, I managed to dive deep before those creeps could make soup out of me.
I’m okay… the hook just left a little scratch on my carapace. It’s kinda masculine.
Then I got caught in a shrimp net. Mom, it was so gross. I had shrimp ALL OVER ME. You don’t think of shrimp as noisy, but they were clacking and squeaking and clawing at my shell, and it was SO AWFUL.
Suddenly, this trap door flopped open and dumped me out of the net. It was a Turtle Excluding Device! I used to say those things were stupid, but it saved me from a really bad scene.
Right now, I’m just flipping along, finding shapes in the clouds. It’s amazing how many look like sea turtles. One cloud looks like a sea turtle playing a banjo. Another looks like sea turtles forming a parliament.
My trainer seems to think I can win this race. His name’s Jason Lezak, and his shoulders are the size of a porch swing. Apparently, he won a gold medal at the last Olympics, because he wears it 24/7, and keeps polishing it with a little spray gun.
Anyway, this she-turtle named Backspacer has a huge lead. To be honest, I’m not sure I can catch her. She is one Far Tortuga.
But I won’t give up, Mom. You named me after a champion racehorse, and I’ll be flying in the stretch.
Love to you, and to all the ladies at the nesting beach,