Posted by: underseaencounters | April 22, 2009

And they’re off! The Great Turtle Race


This Earth Day, I’d like to celebrate the leatherback turtle, a creature that was on the earth at the time of the dinosaurs—in fact, its evolutionary roots go back 100 million years. These prehistoric survivors, however, are critically endangered. It would be a sad story indeed if we upstarts, who have been on earth for only a million years, caused their demise.

Photo by Doug Perrine. It appears on p. 23 of my book Sea Turtles (co-author David Hall)

Photo by Doug Perrine. It appears on p. 23 of my book Sea Turtles (co-author David Hall)

You can read about leatherbacks in the May issue of National Geographic (should be on the newsstand soon). NG is also a sponsor of the Great Turtle Race. Eleven leatherback turtles will speed from their foraging grounds in “the frigid waters of Canada to nesting beaches on the sun-soaked shores of the Caribbean.” The turtles are tagged with satellite tracking devices so that we can follow their incredible 3,700-mile (6,000-kilometer) journey.

You can learn about it on the National Geographic website, which includes:

  • Daily race updates
  • Information about leatherback sea turtles
  • A turtle cam
  • Games
  • A map of the race

Here’s the information about CALI, the leatherback turtle I’m rooting for:

Cali’s sponsor: Bullis Charter School

Cali’s unflappable spirit got him through a life-threatening ordeal that almost kept him off the starting line. When Canadian scientists found him, he was entangled in fishing gear and unable to swim. But thanks to his can-do attitude and some help from the Canadians, he’s off to the races with his leatherback friends!

Go Cali!



  1. Slow and steady wins the race!

    I’m very fond of turtles. My mom used to call me a turtle based on the manner in which I carried out creative pursuits.

    Go Cali!

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