Sea turtles are often in the news in this area, but one particular reptile has made headlines from here to England. Willaminia, or Willy as she's called, has been at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in North Topsail where she has been recuperating since April. She needed some care after washing up on the shores of England, far from her native waters and in pretty bad shape. British activists shipped her from the U.K., to the turtle hospital on Topsail Island, and Wednesday it was time for Willy to be discharged. “Even though she loved it in the U.K. where she has lots of friends and fans and where they took great care of her, this part of the Atlantic is where she belongs and we hope she is going to find her way out there and live a long and happy life,” said Jean Beasley, director at the turtle hospital. Dozens gathered on the beach to watch this famous turtle be returned to the ocean. On the way, Willy waved goodbye to the crowd that wanted to see the famous turtle first hand. "It was pretty cool to come see a turtle that flew across the ocean,” said Caitlin Pike. Even with all the sea turtle hype, some still needed some convincing about seeing Willy off. "At first, I didn't really want to go but then my mom convinced me that I might not be able to go ever again, so I decided ok,” said David Kahle. For many spectators, taking care of Willy was the least we can do. “The ocean gives us lots of treasures from sea glass to the food we eat so to be able to give back makes a big difference,” said Lea-Ann Morris. A crew from the BBC was there today, documenting the end of Willy's travels. Willy is just a small part of the efforts of the sea turtle hospital, just last week the hospital released 22 more turtles back out to sea.
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