Makahiki the turtle released back to the ocean

Posted at 4:11 PM, Jun 14, 2012
and last updated 2012-06-14 19:32:07-04

You might say that the green sea turtle “Makahiki” wintered-over at the Marine Animal Care Center of the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center. The limp cold-stunned turtle arrived at the center New Year’s Day, and after six months of rehabilitation with the Aquarium’s Stranding Response Program, Makahiki was returned to the sea at First Landing State Park this morning.

Makahiki, which means New Year in Hawaiian, was named by the Sandbridge residents who discovered her, Anne and Bill Gasset. They knew exactly who to call since two Christmases ago they had worked with the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Team to rescue a Kemp’s ridley turtle they named “Kalikimaka”, which means Christmas in Hawaiian.

Makahiki was fitted with a satellite transmitter so the Stranding Team and others can track her post-release success on

Makahiki has gained two pounds during its winter stay and the sea turtle has been deemed fully fit by the veterinarian. Perhaps one day Makahiki will meet Kalikimaka, who was rehabilitated and released June 16, 2009.