On New Year’s Day as locals Anne & Bill Gassett were out on their morning beach walk when a Sandbridge visitor alerted them of a stranded green sea turtle.

The Gassett’s were familiar with how to handle such a situation as they rescued a Kemp’s ridley turtle in 2010.  Bill & Anne quickly called the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center’s Stranding Team and took him in to the experts for some rehabilitation.

This little 9 pound turtle had a low body temperature of only 39 degrees, a condition called “cold-stunned” which is potentially fatal.  The Stranding Team had to gradually warm the turtle’s body up so that it’s internal organs would function again.  

The Gassett’s gave the turtle the appropriate name of Makahiki, a traditional Hawaiian name meaning New Year.  Reports from the Aquarium are that Makahiki has responded well to their treatment and has eaten on it’s own.  The Stranding Team hopes that this beautiful creature will continue to recover and one day be released back into the ocean.

Thank you to the Gassett’s who took the appropriate steps to saving this turtle’s life and also to the good Samaritan who thought to ask for their help.

If you ever spot a stranded or dead marine mammal or turtle on the beach please call the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Program 24 hour hotline at 757-385-7575.

Photos courtesy of Sandbridge Sunrise.