Day 14: The race is over, but the turtles swim on

Welcome to the final day of the Great Turtle Race! I’m the ‘Voice of Swimming,’ Rowdy Gaines, along with my partner, Mr. Leatherback, reporting live. Monday, Backspacer finished first after days of twirling around the finish line and with several other turtles threatening to steal victory from her. One of those turtles, Seabiscuit finished strong to take second place, crossing the finish line off the coast of Suriname yesterday, and Nueva Esperanza narrowly edged out Estéban to cross through the Windward Islands and into the winners’ circle.

And it’s all come down to this, the final day of the Great Turtle Race. The last day is certainly not the least in terms of excitement!

As of yesterday, Wawa Bear was sprinting to the finish line, swimming as hard as she could! And she made it just under the wire! In an amazing finish that was reminiscent of her coach, Jason Lezak, in his world-record comeback victory in the 2008 Olympic relay, Wawa Bear zoomed hundreds of kilometers to make it across the finish line just before the end of the Race. She joins Seabiscuit in the winners’ circle just off the coast of Suriname and French Guiana. She really showed some power and used her experience in pulling off that thrilling finish!

Now that the turtles have completed the two-week Race, we can reveal just how far each turtle traveled. These turtles have put in incredible effort on their journeys, and all have covered thousands of kilometers. Olympic medal-winning backstroker Aaron Peirsol is the official spokesperson and ‘coach’ for the turtles in this event. It’s not just Aaron’s swimming prowess that qualifies him for this role, but also his special cause called ‘Race for the Oceans’, a forum for swimmers and swimming fans to dive into ocean conservation. Read more from Aaron about this challenge >>

As mentioned previously, real turtles traveled the tracks shown in the Race. Now that the Race is over, check out what scientists have learned about each of the turtles in the Race, what happened to the turtles that didn’t finish the Race and what the turtles have been doing since the end of the Race. CI Sea Turtle Scientist Dr. Bryan Wallace reveals some of the behind-the-scenes action in the Race. Listen to this commentary >>

In particular, Wawa Bear’s journey has required and encouraged international cooperation among turtle scientists. Listen to Dr. Mike James as he describes the excitment and the challenges of tracking Wawa Bear.

What a Race this has been. Between Mr Leatherback and I, we figure that we’ve spent decades swimming, so have seen a lot of things, but the competitors in this Race are truly inspirational. They face many obstacles, cross entire oceans, and see many changes to their environments, but they just keep on going.

On behalf of all the sponsors, partners, coaches, Race fans, and the turtles themselves, thanks for your support and participation in the Great Turtle Race. Together, we can all help leatherbacks on their journey back to healthy populations in healthy oceans.

ON THE MAP: Review all the migrations and memories on the race map.


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