Pilots N Paws (and flippers)

What an adventure we had this weekend!

Well, to be honest, I had nothing to do with it, but not for lack of trying. It seems I’ve been displaced as my husband’s co-pilot by a stack of turtles. In Chiquita banana boxes.

One of the many hindrances to successful animal rescue is getting them from Point A to B. There may well be a rescue organization in Massachusetts able to take in a dog from Florida but for the transport.

Enter “Pilots N Paws” and my favorite pilot who has recently joined this very cool organization.

Every day the word goes out to the pilot community from Pilots N Paws requesting help getting rescued animals from here to there. And if it’s possible, pilots sign up for a leg of the trip. So far Beloved Husband has not been able to coordinate helping out with a dog transfer, but he spent all day Saturday in the air doing his bit for another transfer…of the endangered species kind!

Turns out there is a bit of a crisis going on in Massachusetts right now. Unusually strong winds and a drop in water temperature have caused several kinds of endangered sea turtles to be stranded along Cape Cod beaches. No way can they survive a New England winter.

NOAA contacted Pilots N Paws for help getting the turtles down to warmer waters.

BH got an e-mail on Wednesday asking if he could help out in the transfer. But it’s not as easy a task as it seems. You see, the turtles cannot get cold. Period. The transfer from the New England Aquarium to the heated van to the heated plane has to happen quickly. Or else.

turtle.jpeg

New England Aquarium staff handing off turtles in SEVENTEEN degree weather. BRRRR.

 

They loaded fourteen critically endangered Kemp’s Ridley turtles and two giant loggerheads into the little Cessna. BH had already taken out the passenger seat (which is why Yours Truly was not on board) to maximize capacity.

turtle2

Each turtle was numbered.

 

The loggerheads were so big that while aloft BH could feel them flopping about in their containers. Turtle Turbulence! I was curious about smell. BH reported that there was only the slightest aroma of ocean water.

turtle3

Hurry up! Close the doors and get the heat on!

 

I spent the day decorating my mantels for Christmas and anxiously watching BH’s flight via FlightAware.

turtle4

Almost home!

 

And once BH landed back in Richmond, the pilot who volunteered to take the southern leg of the trip down to Jekyll Island, Georgia had to be on the runway ready and waiting for the transfer with a preheated plane. Or else.

turtle5

Unloading for the south-bound leg of the journey, BH (far left) happy to be home.

 

And miraculously, that’s exactly what happened!

The turtles flew coach to Virginia but once they got on the southbound leg of the journey, the accommodations were First Class with a faster, roomier plane complete with blankets to keep them snuggly warm.

Last word on Saturday evening from Eric, the southbound pilot, via e-mail:

“We’ve landed the sauna-plane. Everybody having a nice warm bath! Well, the turtles anyway.”

How fabulous is that???

Over and out,

Barbara

 

 

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About Silver in the Barn

Life in a 1915 farmhouse in Central Virginia. Blogging about whatever happens to catch my fancy - sometimes nonsense, occasionally not.
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109 Responses to Pilots N Paws (and flippers)

  1. dorannrule says:

    Now THAT is a really interesting story Barbara! And kudos to you and hubby for volunteering for such a life saving mission. I am impressed. I am beyond impressed. Can I call you for a transfer to Fla. if it gets too chilly here? I have blankets to go. 🙂

    Like

  2. Mary says:

    Who knew that when Roger pursued his passion for flying he would end up doing good in the world?
    I believe that there will be many more adventures for both of you! I am so proud to be your sister-in-law, Roger!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jodi says:

    That is SUPER FABULOUS! What a wonderful adventure! What a great Holiday good deed. Loved the story, Barbara! Always something exciting going on – eh?! Awesome!

    Like

    • It really is Super Fabulous, I agree. There are so many people doing good things under the radar all around us, aren’t there? In this case, now that I think about it, the good deed was on the radar! LOL. I was just so happy to see those little beasts emerge from the banana boxes and go for a swim. YAY!

      Like

  4. carolwallace says:

    How totally cool! And how like Roger — and you, for that matter.

    Like

  5. joannesisco says:

    This is one of the most heart-warming stories I’ve read in a long time!! An emergency turtle evacuation! … how exciting to have hubby in the centre of it.
    If I had been you, I would have been on pins and needles the entire time! … I didn’t realize you could track his progress in such detail. That must have been a huge relief for you!

    Like

  6. Phil Taylor says:

    That’s is really awesome. Now I know what I want to do in retirement. I guess I better start working on that pilots license, oh and getting a plane too. I suppose that’s a pre-req. Too bad you didn’t get to make the trip.

    Like

    • Here’s the good news, Phil. You don’t have to buy a plane. Roger belongs to a flying club. Sixty guys have part ownership in four planes. Since the vast majority of them never actually fly, it’s very easy to reserve the plane of your choice and in the time slot you want. You should do it, Phil!! Oh, yes, you’ll love the name: Wingnuts.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. nrhatch says:

    Awesome effort for those turtles!!! Like me . . . “they want to go where it’s WARM!”

    Like

  8. What a brilliant idea…and how well organised it all was! What a way to enjoy your hobby and do good at the same time.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pilots and Paws is such an awesome organization! How exciting to be part of it!

    Like

  10. rixlibris says:

    Okay. “Turtle-Turbulence”. That got a chuckle. How does it stack up to the plain old CA variety of T? I really enjoyed the post.

    Like

    • Hello, Rick, and nice to “meet” you. My husband knows better than to go into too much in-depth description of things that will make me even more nervous about his antics than I already am. What he did confess to was hoping that both loggerheads didn’t decide to flop around while he was trying to land. The more I think about it, the better off I was staying home!

      Like

      • rixlibris says:

        Trying to sooth “white knuckles” in the right hand seat has caused many to come to grief. Sometimes it’s best to err on the side of caution and stay behind with a good book.

        Like

  11. Wow. Just WOW. How wonderful!

    Like

  12. suzicate says:

    Thanks for sharing about this wonderful organization and posting pics of this exciting trip! I’d have liked to tag along for warmer weather, ha!

    Like

  13. Mary Ellen says:

    Wonderful story! Great job Roger!

    Like

  14. John says:

    Wow, this is so wonderful! Your husband is an awesome dude!! Lucky you, getting to fly.

    Like

  15. ritaroberts says:

    Hi Barbara, Love this post, thanks for sharing your adventure .It’s always rewarding when you are involved with rescuing animals and this was no exception. I would have loved being there to see them all snuggled up and warm. Nice work !

    Like

  16. M-R says:

    That is about as fabulous as it gets, Barbara !
    What a bloke ! – what a life ! – what utter JOY

    Like

  17. Thom Hickey says:

    Fabulous indeed! I’m a great admirer of Turtles – noble ancient and mythical creatures. One of my favourite novels is ,’Turtle Diary’ by Russell Hoban which centres around releasing Zoo turtles into the wild. Regards Thom.

    Like

    • Oh, how very interesting, Thom. I will look this up immediately! Isn’t it funny the overlapping interests that abound on WordPress?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thom Hickey says:

        It’s one of the major pleasures of blogging that you learn so much about so many fascinating people and subjects. Thom

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve just left Amazon where I’ve discovered that I simply cannot go on without adding this book to the toppling-over TBR pile. It sounds exactly my cup of literary tea. Now I am beginning to see that I either have to moderate my reading or my blogging because they are not co-existing peacefully. Thank you so much for the lead on what I think will be a memorable book.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thom Hickey says:

        I am something of a missionary for Hoban’s books – he is a key author for me with very deep things to say about what it is to be alive. He’s referred to in my latest post about Tom t Hall. Regards thom

        Like

      • I must have missed that post, Thom, dash it to bits. I will head over later this evening. And I understand being a missionary for a deeply-admired author’s books. Several of the books in my pile are there because of recommendations from other bloggers (of course, I pay attention only if they write as beautifully as you do.)

        Liked by 1 person

  18. How pleased I am to read this and to hear of the successful mission. It’s funny, I was wondering about the smell in the cockpit, too!

    Like

  19. Parnassus says:

    Hello Barbara, Quite simply put, Roger deserves a medal for this operation, as do all of the others involved. It’s nice to hear a story like this with a happy ending. I was just reading about these Kemp’s ridley turtles, and apparently they are the rarest and most endangered species of sea turtle. The article also mentioned that some Kemp’s ridleys were airlifted after a Mexican oil spill, so they must be earning frequent flier miles. Since their main problems have been pollution and over-hunting, it seems the least that we can do for them.
    –Jim
    PS: Wingnuts–Ha ha!

    Like

    • Hello Jim, and as usual you add so much to my posts. You’ll be interested to know this little tidbit which Roger neglected to mention before I hit the “publish” button. When he filed his flight plan with air traffic control, he included the fact that he was transporting endangered turtles. Three separate controllers gave him more direct routes home. So there were more people at work behind the scenes than even I realized! How about that!

      Like

  20. What a onderful event. I almost felt like given it multiple ‘like’. I hope the turtles appreciated this effort. There are not too many turtles having flown high above their waters. I bet they told a story or two, back down with their friends in the ocean. ‘There I was in a box of warm water slushing about and then and then, getting into a real airoplane, and the noise, the noise, but people were very friendly and took good care of me. People are not so bad at all. 😉

    Like

    • You know this comment gives me such a warm surge of affection for you, Gerard! Do you remember us having the conversation about the calamari and the false teeth? Or was it an octopus and eyeglasses? Or some combination thereof? Regardless, anybody who can imagine a conversation like you have is a friend of mine! That’s all there is to it!

      Liked by 1 person

  21. reocochran says:

    I am belated with my remarks because I was up at Mom’s but am so excited to know your husband and you are such involved participants in this organization. Pilots N Paws (and turtle flippers, too) is such a great ’cause.’ Too bad that the turtles took so much room, or you would have been aboard, I gather…
    Hope you had a delicious and wonderful Thanksgiving, Barb! This was an amazing ‘feat’ with the warm ocean aroma not being overwhelming and the details of the whole adventure made me wish I could be part of this, too! I was thrilled the turtles could be rescued. Happy endings are the best, Barb!

    Like

    • Robin, I have been belated in remarks as well having taken some time off from WordPress and trying to catch up on reading and other things. We did have a very nice Thanksgiving indeed and I hope you did too. We can no longer really host my parents here at my house as my father is almost completely wheelchair bound, so we bring Thanksgiving to them which works out well. I know being up at your mother’s is a lot to do too. Re the turtles: I was so happy to see them being so tenderly taken out of the boxes and placed in the warm water. They have to be treated so gingerly temperature-wise. They cannot withstand body temp differentials of more than four degrees so they really did have to transport them quickly. You’re right, my friend, and sometimes we can even make our own happy endings. XXX

      Liked by 1 person

      • reocochran says:

        I am glad you mentioned this fact about their fragile temperature changes. This will help if anyone reads this and finds a turtle in need of rescue.
        So thankful for your understanding and thanks for also telling me a little bit about your father, too. I think taking the meal to them makes everyone happy. It makes it easier in more than one way. Your beautiful house would have to have the wheelchair ramp be one that is in the back or side door… better to just visit and be together. I hope your father is not in any pain, Barb. Happy December and we will be visiting again, soon! xo

        Like

  22. Pat S. says:

    Are the two of you just the coolest people ever, or what?! Great job, Roger!

    Like

    • Why, yes, Pat, yes we are! COL! Sorry, my darling, I couldn’t resist. You know that if I had to write posts about my own shenanigans (then I turned a page, knit one, purl two, dig a hole, pull a weed) the entire blogosphere would lapse into a deep sleep! Fortunately somebody around here has a bit of an adventurous streak! I will pass on your message to the big guy and am so looking forward to seeing you soon!

      Like

  23. markbialczak says:

    Fantastic, Barbara. Many cheers to the pilot and co-pilot and everybody involved. This Maryland Terrapin is all for saving stranded turtles from a frozen demise in Cape Cod, that’s for certain. Thank you for the quick diversion from paws to shells. Quick thinking and flying saves the day.

    Like

  24. menomama3 says:

    What a great story! The turtle world is a better place today thanks to your hubby and this innovative rescue organization.

    Like

  25. Eliza Waters says:

    This is fantastic – what a great good-news story! BH is a hero! How many turtles had to be airlifted?

    Like

    • Over 400 have been moved south so far. More still need to go from Massachusetts to warmer climes, Eliza. BH had sixteen in his little Cessna. It is a happy story, isn’t it? Snow gone yet?

      Like

      • Eliza Waters says:

        No, snow still hanging on, but about half has melted. So long as the temps. go into the 30s+ it’ll keep going. It’s like walking in sand, so I prefer terra firma as long as possible, then I have to move to snow shoes, not as easy to get around.
        I went on the NEA website and learned more about the strandings, pretty amazing work they do. I am a MA Audubon member, so am happy for their part. I think I’ll send another year end donation and to the NEA as well. Powerful good work they are doing (and BH, too!).

        Like

      • We used to love walking the Audubon preserves in MA. We don’t have any here in VA that I know of. How great that you support them (which doesn’t surprise me one bit!) I’m going to pop over to the NEA website now too. I might learn something new. Thanks, Eliza.

        Liked by 1 person

  26. Kate says:

    Brilliant! I love it! XKate (fig)

    Like

  27. Sheryl says:

    It’s wonderful how Pilots N Paws got the turtles down to warmer climates.

    Like

  28. purpleviolas says:

    O wow that sounds like great co operation and what an adventure hope they all survive !

    Like

  29. bkpyett says:

    Such a charming story Barbara. Photos didn’t arrive but loved the story!

    Like

  30. Oh My Gosh, Oh My Gosh, Oh MY GOSH! Reading your blog is like reading a most excellent book you just don’t want to put down or never want it to end… best thing is, I don’t think this is going to end!!! I loved this story.. does it get any sweeter? My heart is all full of happiness and appreciation for “Pilots N Paws” and your BH. It really takes special people to do this type of rescue. I crack up thinking about BH cruising up there in the sky with Chiquita banana boxes full of turtles.. 😀 “Turtle Turbulence”… dying… or better yet.. COL!!! Ha! I learn so many new fun things here! Love, love, LOVE the pictures and videeohhhhh! Good Morning!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, didn’t you just brighten up my own “good morning!” I’m so happy you enjoyed this, Pix!! The videohhhh! Wasn’t it so precious the way they so gently lifted those little turtles out of the boxes and gave them a little inspection? I wish the video was longer so we could have had a better look at those big turbulence-causing loggerheads. Thanks so much for this happy comment!!

      Like

      • Well, I just got an extra little treat. When you replied to my comment and said “Wasn’t it so precious the way they so gently lifted those little turtles out of the boxes and gave them a little inspection?” I thought, wait! WHAT?.. I didn’t get to see any little turtles get inspected. So back here I came.. I didn’t see the 2nd videeohhh, only the first! I think I thought it was a picture. My brain doesn’t fire full on early in the morning. So now I had some extra adorableness this morning ♥ CH just got up so Ima yell at him to see.. 🙂

        Like

      • Oh good! The videohhh was taken by Pilot #2 at the end of the day. I hope your CH got to see it too! Thanks so much, Pix.

        Like

  31. dorothy says:

    WOW ….Roger…you’re the greatest with putting yourself: out there to give a helping hand for others. You and Barb show such compassion for such good causes setting a good example for the rest of us to follow.

    Like

    • It’s a good thing when one finds the “thing”, whatever it is, that they enjoy doing. In his case, participating in a venture like this is fun. I call it an all around “win-win” situation. Just ask those turtles!

      Like

  32. Sue Mayo says:

    There is never a dull moment at the Scott abode. Can’t wait for the next adventure. Roger is the best Barb. I’m not sure if I am ready for you to start taking flying lessons just yet.

    Like

  33. Janis Grizzard says:

    What a very great, awesome, totally cool story. Thank you, Roger, BH, for the giving of your time, talent and treasure!

    Like

  34. What an inspiring story, Barbara. You have such a decent hubby with a compassionate heart. Please say hello to him for me.

    Like

  35. Pam Welch says:

    That is awesome, Barbara! I hope someday to get involved with these type of rescues, heard about the turtles here on the Cape. Kudos to your husband for taking the time to do this.

    Like

    • Hi Pam on Cape Cod. I wondered how much publicity the plight of the turtles got up in New England. We certainly heard nothing of it down in VA. Were it not for NOAA and the New England Aquarium, I doubt Pilots N Paws would have either. Good to hear from you and thanks.

      Like

  36. Behind the Story says:

    A fascinating story and a fantastic work of mercy! Turtles are great. When I lived in the South Pacific, I read a story in the local newspaper about a fisherman who fell overboard far out at sea, hundreds of miles from any island. He was saved by a giant turtle. He rode on his back, ending up in another country weeks later. I guess sometimes turtles save people, and sometimes people save turtles. Congratulations to your husband for his good work.

    Like

  37. kristieinbc says:

    What an awesome organization to be a part of! I’m guessing that you will have lots of interesting stories to share about your help with the animal rescues, but the turtle one will most likely be one of the strangest. 🙂

    Like

  38. Sandra says:

    Terrific post Barbara, loved it. Look forward to hearing more tales of animal rescues. Hope the turtles are enjoying their new location. 🙂

    Like

  39. Kudos to BH! What a fabulous thing to do! Next time, you’ll know to send hot chocolate and hot water bottles, Barbara 😉 I hope your seat is re-installed and ready for your next trip. Hugs, WG

    Like

  40. Wes says:

    I’ll bark for a flight to Virginia!

    Liked by 1 person

  41. cat9984 says:

    What a great Christmas story! Do turtles migrate north for the summer or were they just lost?

    Like

    • No, they were driven ashore by high winds and other environmental factors. They do migrate and were supposed to be on their way down to warmer waters when they got pushed ashore. My understanding is that all of them have now been rescued and are in various places down south including Florida and Texas. Happy endings!

      Like

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