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Great Turtle Race, The Great End
by Turtle Jones
Well, it isn't what we wanted, but at least we broke some records.
Looks like we are going for third place.
For those of you not in the know, the official turtle of FTTW was and is and will always be Turtleocity. She got off to a shaky start then got lost then pulled up fast but a little too late.
Kinda like FTTW.
Good intentions but always on the wrong end of the gun.
The real results are as follows.
Billie - cheered on by billfish and friends throughout the sea - finished The Great Turtle Race in first place around 6:00 a.m. PST on Thursday. She may not have been the longest or widest turtle of the bunch, but Billie swam a flawless race!
“We’re overjoyed that Billie has won the race - even in the face of aggressive challenges from Stephanie Colburtle the Turtle,” said Paxson Offield of the Offield Center for Billfish Studies, Billie’s proud sponsor in the Great Turtle Race. “She is a hero to turtles, billfish, and the many other marine animals that are threatened and ‘going faster than you think.’ Way to go, Billie, and congratulations to all of the other racers!"
But the race isn't over yet...Stephanie Colburtle now looks certain for second place far southeast of the winner’s course. George Shillinger, a sea turtle expert who tagged the girls at Playa Grande, explained how the competitors find their way to the finish zone.
“The ocean is like a pinball machine,” said Shillinger, who works for Tagging of Pacific Predators. “The turtles shoot out of the starting gate at the nesting beach and appear to be moving in a directed fashion, but they are also subject to ocean currents and other environmental factors which can sling them in different directions. That’s why we have a ‘finish zone’ for the race and not a simple ‘finish line.’”
Elsewhere on the course, Turtleocity took the prize as this year’s deep dive champion on Wednesday when she plunged to an unprecedented 2,789 feet. Despite their occasional underwater stunts, turtles in this year’s race are actually staying closer to the surface than they have in previous competitions. Scientists say that’s because this is the first year since they starting tagging turtles at Playa Grande that La Niña weather patterns have been apparent in the Eastern Tropical Pacific. La Niña conditions can make shallow water colder than usual and churn up lots of good food closer to the ocean’s surface.
In other news, Turtleocity’s pal Purple Lightning also impressed crowds on Wednesday, swimming with gusto into the No. 4 spot. Champiro likewise had a strong swim on Day Ten as she wowed fans with her highly-anticipated sense of direction. Champiro has positioned herself well for an open, straight shot to the finish zone.
Freedom and Genevieve, meantime, swam with the same power and consistency on Wednesday that they have demonstrated throughout The Great Turtle Race. Both turtles have forged a fairly straight path for the Galapagos since leaving Playa Grande.
So we are looking at third place but we dove the deepest.
I say we still won.
We will see these bastards again next year.
And next time, we ain't fucking around.....