Four rehabilitated sea turtles released amongst large cheering crowd

Turtle Oak Island
Credit: Annick Joseph | WWAY

OAK ISLAND, NC (WWAY) – It was a farewell celebration that has become a pretty big tradition on Brunswick County’s coast.

Hundreds of people filled the beach front for a turtle release in Oak Island.

The four turtles were taken to the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center for treatment –  now they are ready to be sent off to sea.

Excitement was in the air on Oak Island Beach –  as volunteers showed off the turtles before preparing them for release.

As the anxious crowd waited for the turtles to arrive, a family of dolphins, including a baby, were spotted from the beach.

The crowd erupted in cheers, whistles and applause as the dolphins continued to breach the waters surface.

One of the four turtles, named Aquamarine, was captured off Ocean Crest Pier in Oak Island was caught on a fishing line by a fisherman, something that often happens to turtles who need rehabilitation.

Beach goers who happen to see a turtle with a hook in its mouth – don’t pull it out – leave it to professionals like Suzan Bell, who’s a coordinator for the Oak Island Sea Turtle Protection Program

“If you need to, cut two feet of the fishing line and leave that, so he (she) doesn’t swallow the hook,” said Bell.  “Anytime they (turtles) can be released back into the ocean, then we know we’ve done our part.”

Oak Island resident Linda Hunter has attended many turtle releases and wants to remind people to enjoy marine wildlife from afar.

“If you see a turtle enjoy if you see one nesting on the beach stay away from it,” she said.  “Don’t touch it, that scares it (turtles) away, and we want all our mama’s to nest.”

Turtle nesting season started May 1, beach front property owners are encouraged to switch out their bright blue bulbs seen from the street to warm amber colored ones.

For more information on the Oak Island Sea Turtle Protection Program click here or here more info on the

Categories: Brunswick, News, Top Stories