Great Leatherback turtle race: Pearl Jam's Backspacer wins!
Backspacer - the turtle sponsored by Pearl Jam has won the 2009 Great Leatherback Turtle Race!
She actually had the most northerly start of all the turtles, coming from deep within the Gulf of St. Lawrence, but she was the first to reach the Caribbean waters, traveling 6,268 kilometers. Perhaps part of her success can be attributed to the fact that she only made 2 dives over 60 minutes during the race.
Second place was Seabiscuit, then Nueva Esperanza, Esteban, and Wawa Bear.
The rest have yet to reach the Caribbean.
Eleven endangered leatherback turtles are making their way from feeding areas off the Atlantic Ocean to the warm tropical waters of the Caribbean, and they are racing to see who gets their first (well they are not aware they are racing).
They left the waters around Nova Scotia yesterday and will reach near St. Margarets Bay in about two weeks, and some have famous sponsors like R.E.M or Pearl Jam.
This race is hoping to highlight the importance of protecting these highly endangered animals from becoming extinct. The Leatherback Turtle is the largest in the world and can grow up to two meters long and weigh over 500 kilograms.
“Waters off Atlantic Canada are one of the most important feeding grounds for leatherback turtles,” Dr. Mike James, director of science for the Canadian Sea Turtle Network, said in a release. “Canadians share their leatherbacks with the international community, and this race highlights how important it is we work together to care for this species.”
They are being tracked by satellite, by the Canadian Sea Turtle Network.
R.E.M's turtle is called 'Night-swimmer' and Pearl Jam's is called 'Backspacer'.
Day 2 of the race:
Billy is in the lead:
All the turtles except for Lindblad have exited the Gulf and appear to be heading south. Cali is taking advantage of his head start and is near the front of the pack. Billy is heading for the east coast of the U.S., and Nueva Esperanza is starting to pick up speed. Seabiscuit spun out once he got out of the Gulf, but he has his bearings and is making progress. Wawa Bear is making a big turn and is the farthest east of any turtle in the race.
Billy is still in the lead and it seems that Grembo Jones has fallen really far behind.
Lindblad has left the Gulf and is hot on the trail of the other ten turtles. Nueva Esperanza and Wawa Bear are making waves, but Cali is spinning in circles, maybe getting his bearings before making his move south. Billy continues his zigzag southward; he is closer to the U.S. than the others—will that help him save time?
We're now up to Day 8 and it looks like 'Backspacer' is in the lead (the one sponsored by Pearl Jam) although Billy is having some technical problems.
Backspacer is edging closer to the finish line, but will she cross? It appears that Billy hasn’t moved over the last two days, but we now know why: His transmitter stopped sending signals, so we can’t track him right now. Wawa Bear did a loop, and Seabiscuit looks like he might try one too. They’re in the North Equatorial Current now, which is likely like a snack bar for leatherbacks.