What do you do when the U.S. Navy asks you to retrieve an errant weather buoy, but the buoy seems to be traveling to different locations?
"The buoy had broken free of its mooring near Port Canaveral, Florida, and, after a weather delay, we were tasked to find it," says Shonda Kennedy, owner of TowBoatUS Daytona and St. Augustine. "The problem was, the Navy kept advising the buoy appeared to be bouncing around between three different sets of coordinates."
Captains Trey Tuggle and Jeremy Larson of TowBoatUS St. Augustine were on the case. But it wasn't an easy one to solve. "As the location data has a several-hour delay, by the time we would arrive at the buoy's last-known position, it would have mysteriously vanished," explained Kennedy. Finally, after a seven-hour hunt, the pair of TowBoatUS gumshoes located it — with a sea turtle attached. It turns out, the turtle had become entangled in the lines and was dragging the buoy around.
With the turtle making a steady 2 to 3 knots west toward the Florida coast — and yet somehow still able to dive, even with the buoy tangled around its neck — Tuggle and Larson were able to cut the line, free the turtle, and retrieve the buoy.
"We're thinking ‘she' was headed ashore to lay eggs," said Kennedy. Here's hoping she did just that. Kudos to "detectives" Tuggle and Larson for their good work!