Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida - One of the great things about the Dry Tortugas is the amazing diversity of resources inside the park. If you go to the Dry Tortugas just to scuba dive - you’ve missed it. If you solely focus on masonry construction, turtle nesting, nurse shark mating, pristine coral reefs, shipwrecks, rare birds, recreational fishing, or sailing you have missed the entire magic and experience of the Dry Tortugas. Combine these resources, and you have a sensation overload that has always ranked as one of the most spectacular places on earth.
While I have been working at the Dry Tortugas, I have had the opportunity to photography the release of a few baby loggerhead turtles. Kayla, a very talented bio tech and turtle researcher is permitted to dig existing nest areas three days after the young turtles make there escape. Today as I was photographing a release, I thought how screwed this tiny little turtle must have felt. First, the little guy attempts to dig itself out of the sand – unsuccessfully. Next, gentle hands dig you out and place you in a bucket with even more sand to make you feel at home. After a bouncy boat ride (the collections were on adjacent keys) you arrive at another beach and released. You struggle to the sea, giving your fins the there first test. Finally, you reach the water, get pummeled by a couple of monster waves (4”) only to be greeted by me, a very intimidating creature yielding a massive black camera that flashes like a disco strobe as you seek deeper water. I felt bad that this little guys only sensation of land for the next 20 years was so traumatic. Well, after culling the hundreds of shots my guilt quickly subsided. This little guy is going to be famous in the parks interpretive and educational materials. Swim hard my little friend.