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Sea Turtle Day

"We pulled up and looked at the hills, the mountains and the blue-green sea. There was a soft warm wind blowing but I understood why the porter had called it a wild place. Not only wild but menacing."

~ The Wide Sargasso Sea, Jane Rhys, 1966

Named for the only sea without shores, and known as a place of mystery by ancient sailors for its eerie calmness and tangled sargassum seaweed, the Sargasso Sea tartan uses the colors of the exceptionally blue water and the floating mass of seaweed, trapped in circular gyres by rotating currents, important to the habitat of sea turtles. The early life of loggerheads and other sea turtles used to be called “the lost years,” but over decades, researchers pieced together information from ship observations, the pattern of ocean currents, and other data to solve the mystery of the whereabouts of young turtles.  Hatchlings head out to sea to avoid fish, sharks, and other predators. Once off the continental shelf, they eventually end up in a circular current, the North Atlantic subtropical gyre, and spend many years residing in the Sargasso Sea, only later returning to their place of origin.🐢

Jun 16

Sargasso Sea
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Ocean Eagle
Photo by Clark Little
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World Sea Turtle Day is celebrated the same day as the birthday of Dr. Archie Carr, "the father of sea turtle biology." His research and advocacy brought the attention to the conditions that continue to impact sea turtles.

The early life of loggerheads and other sea turtles used to be called “the lost years,” because no one knew exactly where they went.  But over decades, researchers pieced together the animals’ natural history from ship observations, the pattern of ocean currents, and other data.  Hatchlings head out to sea to avoid fish, sharks, and other predators. Once off the continental shelf, they eventually end up in a current, called the North Atlantic subtropical gyre, and spend many years in the wide Sargasso sea, later returning to their  place of origin.

The Sargasso Sea is named for the Sargassum seaweed which floats there, trapped by currents that rotate clockwise around this large area of the North Atlantic. All currents deposit the marine plants and refuse they carry into this sea, yet the ocean water in the Sargasso Sea is distinctive for its deep blue color and exceptional clarity. The Sargasso Sea is often portrayed in literature and the media as an area of mystery.

This tartan, designed by Carol A.L. Martin, is named for the only sea in the world without shores.

For an article from the Smithsonian describing new information about "the lost years" of juvenile sea turtles, click the turtle!