Sea turtle rescued, released with help of Scouts from Florida and Texas

To help other people at all times?

Two groups of Boy Scouts — one from Texas and one from Florida — might want to amend that part of the Scout Oath to read “and reptiles, too.”

Last month, a group of Scouts from Texas helped return a sea turtle back to the wild — the same turtle a group of Scouts from Florida had saved months earlier.

The story of how Bubbles the sea turtle was rescued, rehabilitated and released has Scouting’s fingerprints all over it.

It started March 15, 2016, when Scouts from Troop 686 of Tampa, Fla., were on a kayaking trip in the Florida Keys. There they spotted Bubbles, a female loggerhead sea turtle who was visibly injured; she was floating and unable to dive.

The Scouts contacted the Turtle Hospital, a nonprofit in Marathon, Fla., that rescues these awesome reptiles. The facility diagnosed her with an intestinal impaction. The prescription: antibiotics, vitamins, and plenty of fish and squid.

With rest and rehabilitation, Bubbles’ health improved to the point that she was ready to return to her home in the Florida Keys.

The Scouts from Troop 686 were unavailable to return for her release, so Scouts from Troop 1103 of Katy, Texas, stepped in to participate. The Scouts already were in Florida to spend a week at the BSA’s Florida Sea Base.

On June 11, 2016, Scouts Jon Slezak, Creighton Maynard IV and Drew Van Chau, along with two assistant Scoutmasters, joined staff members from the Turtle Hospital at Sombrero Beach in Marathon for the big release.

Bubbles was carefully moved from the Turtle Hospital to the beach using what’s called a turtle ambulance. Scouts and the staff carried her on a turtle stretcher while a 200-person crowd gathered to watch.

They slowly lowered Bubbles into the water, and away she went. Everyone cheered.

The release gained local media attention, including this story on WFOR-TV, the CBS affiliate in Miami.

“I’m so proud to be a Boy Scout and be part of the organization that was able to rescue this animal and to be able to see it go back into the wild,” Drew Van Chau told the station.

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Story idea and photos via Andrew Van Chau

About Bryan Wendell 2882 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.