When Captain the sea turtle first came to Mote, it was for help.
She had been found stranded on a Florida beach in 2010, was nursed back to health in a Georgia aquarium and released into the wild only to be found stranded a month later. That was when Mote stepped in to see if they could make her releasable.
She arrived in March 2014. Quickly, she was a force of nature at the aquarium, beloved by those who dealt with her.
“She’s a good education ambassador and she never fussed going from one environment to another,” said Mote rehabilitation and medical care coordinator Lynne Byrd, who worked extensively with Captain. “All the docents and interns and volunteers fell in love with her.”
On Wednesday’s transport, interns decorated signs reading “Booty-licious, we love you Captain!”, and cut out rainbow-colored letters spelling the turtle’s name, placing them next to her tank.
Captain was lifted out of her tank, smacking her flippers together, and eventually placed in a kiddie swimming pool, where she would lay in the back of a minivan for the four-hour drive to her new home.
And where exactly is that? Broward County’s Carpenter House, a historic home in Hollywood, Florida, that is being remodeled into a marine education center.
Captain will be the facility’s only resident as of now. They open Mar. 3.
We wish this little turtle good luck in her new home. For more cute photos, check out photographer Rachel O’Hara’s gallery.