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By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Turtle: The Incredible Journey
Directed by Nick Stringer
Hanover House 06/11 DVD/VHS Documentary
Loggerhead turtles have been swimming the seas for 200 million years and yet now they are classified as endangered in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red Book. They are large, air-breathing creatures whose sleek bodies and powerful flippers enable them to be at home in the sea. This incredible documentary directed by Nick Stringer charts the 9,000 mile journey of one female loggerhead turtle from the Florida beach where she was born to a return there years later to deposit her eggs and fulfill her life's mission.
During the mad dash to the sea after breaking out of her egg and digging for three days up through the sand, this loggerhead turtle is one of the lucky newborns who makes it across the beach past hungry sea crabs and diving birds to the water. With flippers the size of butterflies, she swims for two days until she reaches the "blue highway," the Gulf Stream. She catches a ride on a floating hotel of sargassum weed until she grows big enough to swim long distances. Then it is onward with the many other pilgrims of the sea who will become familiar to the loggerhead turtle: humpback whales, bottlenose dolphins, sperm whales, and blue sharks. She travels to the North Atlantic, down to the coast of Africa, and back across the Atlantic to the Caribbean.
Along the way there are many perils and obstacles on her journey such as violent storms that thrust her toward treacherous rocks, fishing boats with their long hooks and nets, oil slicks, and floating dumps of paper, plastic and other throw-aways from careless human beings. There are plenty of tense moments in this documentary! We soon understand why only one in 10,000 turtles survives the 25-year journey.
In her 21st year, our heroine swims home to her birth-beach in Florida and lays her eggs in the sand. Yet one wonders what will happen to the oceans as a result of the climate changes. And what of the beaches, will they one day be covered by water? We don’t know the answers to these questions but what we’re left with is a deep respect for this loggerhead turtle and her resiliency and keen survival skills.
Special features on the DVD include interviews with director Nick Stringer and narrator Miranda Richardson; SeaWorld Rescue and Rehabilitation Program; and a behind-the-scenes at the USA Movie Premiere.
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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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• Find out what you can do to help turtles at the Save Our Seas Foundation website.