Eliza Ann off to the turtle races

Eliza Ann release
Eliza Ann's release in 2017. - Cindy Lane | Sun

Eliza Ann is warmed up and ready to race beginning Aug. 1 in the Sea Turtle Conservancy’s Tour de Turtle migration marathon.

The race’s object is to gather information on sea turtle migration, including the distance they cover and where they go. Turtles in the race are scored on how many miles they swim during the race period.

Loggerhead Eliza Ann nested on Coquina Beach on Anna Maria Island the night of June 19 and was fitted with a satellite transmitter, released the next morning, and tracked by the Sea Turtle Conservancy in cooperation with Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch.

Eliza Ann is sponsored by and named for the new restaurant at Waterline Marina Resort and Beach Club in Holmes Beach, which was named for Eliza Ann Plimsoll, the wife of Samuel Plimsoll, who invented of the system of using a waterline painted on boats to prevent overloading.

The turtle has returned twice so far to the Island to nest, but Turtle Watch has not verified that she actually laid nests during those landings.

It’s the second time the Island has entered a turtle in the race – Amie, named for sponsor Anna Maria Elementary School, swam in 2015, finishing in true turtle style in last place, having traveled 207 miles from Anna Maria Island to Everglades National Park. The winner swam 2,341 miles from Costa Rica to New Jersey.

The Sun will follow Eliza Ann’s progress each week. Check back soon!