Where’s Bortie?

Loggerhead sea turtle Bortie is the winner of the People’s Choice Award in the Sea Turtle Conservancy’s 11th Annual Tour de Turtles race.

She placed 10th out of 13 contestants on Oct. 31, the last day of turtle season.

Bortie traveled 351 miles since the race began on Aug. 1, lingering for most of the race off Everglades National Park and the Florida Keys.

Turtle release
Bortie, a loggerhead sea turtle, was detained after nesting on Coquina Beach to be satellite tagged, released and tracked. – Cindy Lane | Sun

The winner, Bion, swam 1,674 miles from Cocoa Beach up to north Florida, then down to the Bahamas, stopping short of Cuba.

The annual event is part of the Conservancy’s research project tracking satellite-tagged turtles to determine where and how far they migrate.

Bortie was satellite tagged and released on Coquina Beach on June 19 after nesting. Her nest hatched successfully in August.

Where's Bortie excavation
Bortie’s nest hatched successfully and was excavated by Turtle Watch volunteers Lee Zerkel and Barbra O’ Toole. – Amy L. Waterbury | Submitted

Bortie was sponsored by the Conservancy, Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring, Waterline Marina Resort in Holmes Beach and Bortell’s Lounge in Anna Maria, for which she is named.

She competed to raise awareness about the threat of light pollution to sea turtles.

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