How it felt impossible, tragic even, to let them go. I thought to myself, "But they're so small, and everything else out there is so much greater." I wanted to keep you to myself, to raise you and hold on and protect those little fins swooping like propellers with such force that I had to hold on with both hands. I let you go, though. Set you onto the sand and watched as you hurried towards a wave larger then I myself would have been capable of withstanding. I picked up others and placed them down, amazed at their intuitive flapping and struggle to rush towards the rush of something that could so clearly overtake them.
But they were strong and all made it out to sea. The worker told us that of all the turtles we freed that day only about 10% would survive to adulthood. Might I have hoped to help along a few in that minority of 10%? It's unlikely. I stayed to watch them all drift off on their first waves and hoped that, contrary to what the worker had said, maybe with this group 20 or 15 or even just 12% would make it to adulthood...anything greater then that scant 10%. Later that night we ate dinner at a beachside cafe and struggled to communicate over the intensity of the crashing waves. A storm was coming in and the tides were stronger then any we'd heard previously, stampeding onto the shore each succeeding wave more powerful then the last. "I wonder where they are now," I said, hoping that I wasn't alone in my worrying. "Probably miles and miles out to sea by now, she said, they're so strong." I set my fork down in contemplation, remembering how strong they but also they were only just born and still small and so vulnerable...knowing that the minority would live I glanced toward the waves and hoped again for 20 or 15 or 12.