Loggerhead takes a dip in Hilton Head pool before rescuers send her back to sea

achristnovich@islandpacket.comJune 9, 2012 

A female loggerhead turtle who took a wrong turn into a Port Royal Plantation swimming pool Saturday morning is back at sea following her rescue by members of the Hilton Head Island Fire & Rescue Division and the Coastal Discovery Museum staff.

A resident of a beach-front home called the rescue division about 8:30 a.m. when the 250-pound turtle was found swimming in an in-ground pool.

While it's common for turtle hatchlings to scoot away from the ocean toward artificial lights, it's rare for an adult to make the same mistake, Amy Tressler of the Coastal Discovery Museum's Sea Turtle Protection program said.

"She nested and got disoriented after," Tressler said. Other than her brief directional adventure, the animal was healthy, Tressler said.

It's only the second time in the 10 years Tressler has worked for the conservation group that an adult loggerhead has needed their help finding the Atlantic.

And it was the first time firefighters had responded to such a call, Fire Chief Jeff Hartberger said.

The firefighters got the confused animal out of the pool by guiding her onto a body board and strapping her to it Tressler said. It took four firefighters to then carry her back to the ocean.

Both Tressler and Hartberger urged residents to obey the "Lights Out" ordinance which is in effect on Hilton Head from May 1 until Oct. 31. The ordinance requires lights in beach-front homes be turned off or covered from 10 p.m. until dawn.

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