Enid Fern swims 6,000+ miles in a year!

On this very night last year, one of our Sandy Point turtles – Enid Fern – made her way to Maunabo, Puerto Rico for her last nest of the season, having nested three times at Sandy Point. Just by chance and circumstance, Enid Fern met with our friends and colleagues at ATMAR (Amigos de las Tortugas Marinas) led by Luis Crespo, and our other friends Kara Dodge and Connie Merigo from the New England Aquarium, who were deploying satellite tags (GPS tags) on nesting leatherbacks to investigate where the turtles were heading after nesting for the season. Amazingly, Enid Fern got a tag that night! And one year later, she is the only turtle of 3 tagged that night who is still transmitting! She has made an amazing journey since then and we’ve been able to follow along!

OVER 6,000 miles (10,000 km) she has traveled since getting her tag! She headed straight out to sea to the northeast in a beeline toward the Azores. From there she looped around and headed south into the mid-Atlantic crossing the mid-Atlantic ridge. She spent some time there, before heading back north where she is now about 240 miles West/ Northwest of the Azores. She must be finding some very good jelly patches out in the middle of the ocean.

Over 6,000 miles of continual swimming, diving and searching for jellies means that Enid Fern has covered about 17 miles a day, every day for a year! Leatherbacks can generally swim about 3-5 miles per hour (about as fast as we walk on a brisk walk). We hope that her transmitter will keep giving us important information on leatherback migration and habitat use and that she will be back to nest with us in a year or two.

Enid Fern was adopted by the Frey and Knoell families, in memory of their grandmother and mother, Enid Fern! The turtle Enid Fern nested on Grandma Enid Fern’s birthday 🙂

If you’d like to adopt a turtle and support our conservation and research projects, please see how you can help here!

A nesting leatherback (like Enid Fern) makes her way back to the water after nesting.

The St. Croix Leatherback Project is supported by the Sea Turtle Census Initiative, which is sponsored by  The Ocean Foundation, which is a 501(c)(3) organization, based in Washington, D.C., but working globally to protect our oceans.




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