Introducing Everett and Peter
Editor’s Note: This year, the STPS Board of Directors has funded two satellite transmitters for Dean Bagley, a researcher with the University of Central Florida’s Marine Turtle Research Group. STPS has supported Bagley’s work researching male green sea turtles for several years. This year, the board has named the two male green sea turtles being tracked with the satellite transmitters. The first is named Everett, in honor of longtime STPS volunteer Everett Tindall who turned 91 in June. The second turtle has been named Peter, in honor of STPS founder Peter Bandre and the 35th anniversary of the organization in 2021. Dean Bagley will provide periodic updates to STPS as she tracks the turtles this summer. This is her first update of the season.
By Dean Bagley, UCF MTRG researcher
The first male green sea turtle, named Everett, was released on June 9, 2021, at sunrise just south of the Tuscany Sun Motel, previously the Sand Gate Motel, after being fitted with a satellite transmitter. Upon release, he immediately swam south and continued south until he got to the south end of Palm Beach County, where he spent two weeks from June 15-30 off Boca Raton beaches between Highland Beach and Deerfield Beach. From there, he continued his trip south until the most recent location was received on 1 July at 9:40 p.m. as he was passing the south end of Virginia Key at the north end of Biscayne Bay.
It is with a huge sigh of relief that I’m able to tell you that we deployed the second transmitter on June 26, 2021. I was beginning to think it might not happen, as this is turning out to be a lower year than anticipated for green nesting, and we’ve never been able to deploy more than one male in a low year. In all honesty, during the time we were out there, we only saw four pairs at night, despite all the sightings during the day. In addition, our previously tracked males have all left the area by the first week in July, so I felt that we were down to the wire for this year. (You may still see mating pairs out there, but all our tracked males were gone by the first week in July). I thought this might have been our latest deployment to date but that was wrong. We actually deployed a transmitter on July 1 in 2018.
This second male green sea turtle, named Peter, was deployed at about 8:45 a.m. on June 26, 2021, from the south side of South Shores condominium. He immediately went north, then south, and began a busy schedule back and forth several times between his northernmost point at Beachwoods to his southernmost point (to date) off the now-closed Sebastian Beach Inn. His last location was off Ocean Pines Motel on 1 July at 9:58 p.m.
I’d like to recognize the incredible support from Kim Matheny and Janet Hochella in finding these turtles and in getting these transmitters deployed. It’s no small task to work night after night, after night, despite the rain and high tides and schedules and unexpected trips to Orlando (by me) during this time. It takes strength, determination, some rescheduling and a whole lot of love to keep coming back night after night. They kept coming, and I love them both for not giving up and helping me make it happen. We were also lucky that there were students working on the nights we got our turtles. We seem to be able to catch them, but getting them up the beach is another story, and usually requires a little more muscle than we can muster. The students came right away both nights and gave us a hand. And, as always, thank you to the Sea Turtle Preservation Society Board for supporting this work. We were able to do it because of you.