Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Ballad of Ballard and the Giant Sea Turtle

   I read an interesting article in Slate about the discovery of giant turtle  remains. This turtle lived during the Paleocene era and was as large as a car. I like imagining a turtle that gigantic paddling through the ocean. They probably looked like miniature islands. The giant turtle of bygone years reminds me of a story I heard years ago....
  It happened during a stormy night on the open ocean. A ship crashed into jagged rocks. The ship was ruined and the sailors dove into the unforgiving sea hoping their salvation was somewhere in the murky waters. One sailor tried to keep himself afloat as the rocky waves tossed him around. He flailed his arms around hoping he would find a piece of wood from the splintered ship to grasp onto. He sighed with relief when his arms finally landed on something solid. But it was not a piece of ship, it was a sea turtle. The man climbed aboard the turtles large, smooth back and clung on for dear life. The turtle swam him to shore and he was rescued. I tried to find conformation on the internet for this story but had no luck. It does sound far fetched but I like the idea of the rescue turtle. And just because something is far fetched doesn't mean its not true.
    This also reminds me of another story I heard (I couldn't find conformation of it's truth  for this one either.) A man feeling particularly melancholy decided he was through with life. But he wanted a dramatic end to his life, so he decided to fill his clothing with stones and swim out to sea. He swam out to sea as far as he could before the extra weight made him too tired. He let his muscles go limp and waited to drown. But there were thousands of jelly fish in the sea that day and they kept him afloat. Instead of drowning he washed back to shore. Presumably, they were the non-stinging type of jelly fish. I don't know what happened to him after this, but here is my guess. He decided to embrace his second chance at life. He developed a new passion for studying jellyfish and became a leading expert on the animal. The vast knowledge he gained helped him discover the antidote to the deadly box jelly fish venom. His discovery helped save thousands of unsuspecting swimmers who were stung by the venomous jellyfish. Eventually, he settled down and got married to a marine biologist who specializes in sea otters. They had a daughter together who they named Angelica but he calls her 'Jelly' for short. When he falls asleep at night he dreams about jellyfish swimming underneath him and coaxing him back to the shore.

  Here are some pictures I took recently in Ballard, which is a neighborhood in Seattle. It was a beautiful sunny evening and I had just finished having dinner on the patio at a near by restaurant. I love how late the sun sets in the spring and summer.

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