View all of Stephen Colbert’s commentary on the Turtle Race at Colbert Nation
Mr. Leatherback took time out of the race to address concerns over plastic bags...
"Just wanted to post a quick note on Turtleocity before I get to the race coverage, as I know many of you were worried about her possible run-in with a plastic bag. I spoke to her trainers and it appears that in spite of mistaking a bag for a jellyfish earlier today in her haste to get to the Galapagos, she realized her error at the last minute and narrowly avoided chomping down on the bag.
It's a good thing too because once a plastic bag gets into the throat, the inward spikes that normally prevent jellyfish from escaping our throats also keep down the bags. Let's just say that lots of my fellow leatherbacks haven't been so lucky...
You see, our favorite food is the jellyfish. They are delicious! I eat them whenever I can, sometimes hundreds of pounds in a day. (Did you think these beautiful curves came naturally?!)
The thing is, in the ocean, plastic bags look exactly like jellyfish, and we often eat them, and can choke and even die as a result. In fact, lots of plastics cause problems for us when they make their way into the ocean: bottles, wrappers, and other packaging can cause serious harm to us sea turtles. And plastics are everywhere in the ocean these days, even well away from land. They can get there from far away – carried by wind, or washed out to sea in rivers.
I know it's not intentional, and so I wanted to be sure you know that you can help save leatherbacks by cutting back your use of plastic bags. Here are a few easy ways to help:
- When you go to the store, bring your own canvas bag or backpack. Or, if you can carry your items without a bag, just tell the cashier you don't need one.
- If for some reason you need to use a plastic bag, just make sure to reuse them – they make great trash can liners. Or, recycle them. Many grocery stores offer plastic bag recycling and have collection bins near the store entrance.
- If you haven't already signed the petition the Save Sea Turtles, please do so now! Encourage your friends to sign it too – we need all the help we can get..."
As the ladies got closer to the Galapagos, Mr. Leatherback put together a slideshow of the islands
Create Your Own
Final Week of the Race
Day 8: "Now less than 60 miles from the finish zone, Billie took the lead back from Stephanie Colburtle on Day Eight of The Great Turtle Race, as these two ladies continue to go beak-to-beak at the front of the pack.
Day 9: In spite of appearing to be lounging on the beach, Drexelina showed what she's capable of yesterday with an amazing dive to 2,264 feet – nearly half a mile below the surface!! For those of you who haven't been that deep… it's down within the twilight zone, where almost no sunlight reaches and the pressure is so intense that it actually compresses our bodies!
You may be wondering why on Earth these ladies are diving so deep between breaths… well, one word: jellyfish! That's right, jellyfish are plentiful in the deep, and we're always willing to head down there for a meal. Plus it helps us cool off.
Day 10: Over near the finish zone, Billie held her lead with a strong swim. She's now less than 35 miles from victory if she can keep those flippers going! Stephanie Colburtle is staying strong in second place, and Saphira has taken over the third place spot.
Day 11: Purple Lightning and Turtleocity seem to have found the route they were looking for, and are now back on track for a sideways finish, but it may be too late... We'll have to wait to see just how strong the current they're riding is.
Day 12: We have a winner! At 08:30 (EST) April 26, 2007, BILLIE crossed into the finish zone as the winner of The Great Turtle Race! Congratulations, Billie, on an amazing swim!!
Although not the largest or strongest lady in the bunch, Billie swam hard for 10 straight days, surprising her competitors with superb navigation and unparalleled endurance.
Billie’s early career was marked by predator attacks, and while it's given her the know-how to outrun a lot of other ocean life, it's also left her with some injuries that she had to overcome for the win. Her exemplary performance was undoubtedly aided by billfish throughout the Pacific who rallied to support their turtle hero in the race.
Stephanie Colburtle now seems to have a lock on second place, barring any unforeseen currents or wrong turns. She is now less than 30 miles away from the finish zone.
The end: The last two days of the race saw most of turtles come in for a finish. Stephanie Colburtle made a strong showing in 2nd place, disappointing her adopted dad Stephen Colbert, and Champiro came in 3rd place. Turtleocity, Purple Lightning, Genevieve, Saphira, Freedom, and Windy, in that order, all finished the race.
Two contenders, Drexelina and Sundae, never left the coast! Rumors were flying that they were applying for residency in Costa Rica, patrolling the beaches for coastal development, or, in Sundae’s case, churning the water in honor of her “slow-churned” sponsor. Despite spectator worries, their trainers assured us that were in good health. Some turtles just take longer to get started and not even the incentive of winning could entice these gals into the ocean."
The Fan Reaction
Mr. Leatherback spoke to a dolphin, a Galapagos iguana, and a tortoise to get their views on the race, and managed to a get a hold of the fast-swimming Billie for a quick chat as well. View all of the interviews below: