The way these hundreds of sea turtles were rescued is nothing short of inspiring.

When I was little, my mom and dad would alway stop the car if they saw a turtle on the highway. If it was safe, one of us would run out, pick the little critter up, and try to help get it to where it needed to go.

This turtle airlift is basically that... times a hundred.

Don't worry, little fella. All photos by Scott Eisen/Getty Images


Every year, a combination of strong currents and winter temperatures trap hundreds of Kemp's ridley sea turtles in Cape Cod Bay, off the coast of Massachusetts.

The turtles are blocked from leaving by the bitterly cold waters of the North Atlantic. But the bay isn't exactly warm either. As temperatures drop, the chill slowly robs the cold-blooded creatures of their strength until they're stranded, half-paralyzed at the surface of the water, and at the mercy of the wind and tides.

A Kemp's ridley sea turtle swimming at a turtle hospital in Quincy, Massachusetts.

In order to help, hundreds of human volunteers braved cold November winds, patrolling the beaches for exhausted turtles who'd made it to shore.

One pair, 12-year-old Charlie Marcus and his father Peter, an intellectual property rights attorney, even flew out from Los Angeles to help. It was important to Marcus, who'd grown up around Massachusetts, that his son get to participate in the experience.

“Understanding the full spectrum of life is something I hope to teach my children in a way they don’t teach in school,” Marcus told the Cape Cod Times.

Once rescued, the turtles went to the New England Aquarium's special turtle hospital in Quincy, Massachusetts.

The hospital says that over the course of the month, they received over 180 turtles from volunteers and rescuers. Once at the hospital, the chilly little reptiles could relax and regain their strength in warmer water and under the watchful eye of veterinarians and researchers.

A worker feeds two turtles recovering at The New England Aquarium's turtle hospital.

These 180 rescues are especially poignant as Kemp's ridley are the most endangered of all the sea turtles. They usually like to live in warmer waters around the Gulf of Mexico, not chilly Massachusetts.

They're also the smallest species of sea turtle — adults only grow to be about two feet long. Compare that to the mighty leatherback, which can top out well over seven feet!

A worker gives a sea turtle a check-up. Some of the turtles are very sick when the come in and may need special care.

Being released back into the wintry waters of Cape Cod Bay could kill them, so instead, some of the turtles are being given a lift south to warmer climes.

Repurposed banana boxes and towels served as ersatz cabins for the little guys.

I've definitely had worse plane trips.

Once safe in their boxes, the turtles were then loaded into a van...

Some sea turtles can weigh more than 1,000 pounds. Luckily, these guys are considerably lighter.

And then driven out to the airport, where volunteer pilots were ready to fly them south.

On Nov. 29, pilot Jamie Gamble and his 20-year-old daughter Shelby used this little prop plane to shepherd turtles down to North Carolina.

One plane was flown by volunteer pilot Jamie Gamble and his daughter Shelby. They took the turtles on a four-hour jaunt down to North Carolina. Another was flown by pilot Steve Bernstein, who transported 30 of the little guys to Baltimore. Bernstein says that sea turtles apparently make for very polite passengers.

“I don’t get to hang out with them too much,” Bernstein told the Boston Herald. “They’re just kind of convalescing in their banana boxes. But they are kind of cute."

Once in the South, the turtles will spend some time in rehabilitation centers before hopefully being released into the wild.

As the weather gets even colder, the turtle hospital warns that even more sea turtles might end up needing rescuing. Luckily, there will be humans there to help get them where they need to go, like the Gambles and Bernstein, the hospital's staff, and Charlie and Peter Marcus.

“He’s got that empathetic gene," Marcus said about his son. Since he was little, Peter said, Charlie's been interested in helping animals. In fact, his bar mitzvah charity project was all about saving sea turtles.

Now he's gotten to help them first hand.

Most Shared
Photo by Toni Hukkanen on Unsplash

Are looks more important than the ability to get through a long work day without ending up with eyes so dry and painful you wish you could pop them out of your face? Many employers in Japan don't permit their female employees to wear glasses while at work. Big shocker, male employees are totally allowed to sport a pair of frames. The logic behind it (if you can call it that) is that women come off as "cold" and "unfeminine" and – horror of all horrors – "too intelligent."

Women are given excuses as to why they can't wear glasses to work. Airline workers are told it's a safety thing. Beauty industry workers are told they need to see makeup clearly. But men apparently don't have the same safety issues as women, because they're allowed to wear their glasses square on the face. Hospitality staff, waitresses, receptionists at department stores, and nurses at beauty clinics are some of the women who are told to pop in contacts while they're on the clock.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture
via The Guardian / YouTube

Beluga whales are affectionately known as sea canaries for their song-like vocalizations, and their name is the Russian word for "white."

They are sociable animals that live, hunt, and migrate together in pods, ranging from a few individuals to hundreds of whales. However, they are naturally reticent to interact with humans, although some solitary belugas are known to approach boats.

Once such beluga that's believed to live in Norwegian waters is so comfortable among humans that it played fetch with a rugby ball.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

No reward comes without risk - or in the case of Vilnius - risqué. The capitol city of Lithuania has a population of 570,000 and regularly makes lists as an underrated and inexpensive European destination. Lonely Planet called it a "hidden gem" of Europe. In 2016, it was rated the third cheapest destination for a bachelor party in Europe by FairFX. And you've probably never heard of it. In August of 2018, the city started running racy ads to increase tourism, calling it the "G-spot of Europe." The ad features a woman grabbing a map of Europe, clutching the spot where Vilnius is located. "Nobody knows where it is, but when you find it – it's amazing," reads the caption.

VILNIUS - THE G-SPOT OF EUROPE youtu.be

Keep Reading Show less
popular

The truth doesn't hurt for an elementary school teacher in California who's gone viral for teaching her class an empowering remix of one of Lizzo's hit songs.

Ms. Mallari — who teaches at Los Medanos Elementary School in Pittsburg, east of San Francisco — took the singer's song, "Truth Hurts," and reworked the lyrics to teach her students how to be great.

Lizzo's song made history this year for being the longest running number one single from a female rap artist. The catchy original lyrics are about boy problems, but Mallari's remix teaches her students about fairness, helping each other out, and embracing their own greatness.

Keep Reading Show less
popular