Update: my cousin snapped this shot of a dead turtle off of Edgartown. Looks like a Leatherback to me, a very dead, very smelly Leatherback. Such a shame — these are HUGE turtles and very endangered ones. I found a dead one on Sampson’s in the fall of 2010 and it looked like an upside down dinghy from a distance. There’s no way to say this is the same one the Kennedy’s saved from entanglement.
Here’s the quick story. The Kennedys are sailing in Nantucket Sound and come across a Leatherbill turtle entangled in a lobster buoy. The big reptile is struggling, the synthetic rope is wrapped seven times around its neck and flipper, and it’s pretty much a goner unless someone helps it out. So the intrepid Kennedys jump overboard and pull a Doctor Doolittle.
Now NOAA is “investigating” because it is apparently illegal to help out endangered turtles without a permit and the wildlife rescue types are also wringing their hands, saying they should have called for help and let the pros handle the situation. I call bullshit, especially if, as Bobby Jr. claims in the video below, that he and his accomplice are licensed wildlife rescuers. I’m not saying every concerned citizen should rush to roll a stranded turtle or seal into the ocean or dive overboard with a knife between their teeth to cut a poor animal free from some man-made entanglement, but I think these guys did a good thing.
I found a dead Leatherbill on the beach at Sampson’s Island a few falls back. It was very sad and obviously had been killed by a propeller strike.