On the morning of December 20th, dressed in layers to ward off the cold and equipped with snow shovels to [literally] dig the plane out of its hanger, Pilots to the Rescue Top Dog Pilot Michael Schneider and co-pilot Daniel Baumel headed to the airport. After a big of a struggle, they eventually took off around 7:30 am, headed for Marshfield Airport outside Boston. That’s where they met representatives from the New England Aquarium who helped carefully load the sole passenger for the day’s flight – a 31 pound Juvenile Loggerhead Sea Turtle known as 20-910-Cc, who had been found along Cape Cod. Juvenile turtles often stay north too long and begin their migrating too late, leaving them stuck in the bay when it gets cold. After they wash up on the shore, cold-stunned and stranded, volunteers often take them to the New England Aquarium to rehabilitate them and then fly them south to release them back into the water.
But with temperatures in the Boston area hovering at or below freezing, a busy stranding weekend on tap, and Massachusetts sea turtle rehab hospitals like the New England Aquarium overwhelmed with turtles, the Sea Turtle Stranding and Disentanglement Coordinator for NOAA Fisheries put out a plea for help. Pilots to the Rescue and Sea Turtle Recovery answered the call.
The mission was to get him from the Aquarium to Sea Turtle Recovery in New Jersey as quickly and safely as possible. An hour after takeoff, the once-stranded sea turtle was in the capable hands of Sea Turtle Recovery thanks to Pilots to the Rescue and Turtles Fly, Too.
Sea Turtle Recovery reports their newest patient is doing great. He is on antibiotics and has a ferocious appetite. He is currently the biggest patient in house, which is ironic because they say he is the smallest Loggerhead sea turtle that they have ever seen.