From the Curator: Healthy sea life in the bay

From Jack Cover, General Curator at the National Aquarium

Sunday morning I went down to Kent Island to collect comb jellies for the Aquarium’s new Jellies exhibit. I took a boat out on No Name creek, which is just north of Romancoke. It was a partly cloudy day and the water was fairly calm as I looked around for comb jellies.Chesapeake Bay

I saw a lot of Atlantic sea nettles, which we have plenty of at the Aquarium, but very few combs. I was drifting about 200-300 yards east of No Name creek (a bit northeast of the Romancoke public pier) staring  into the water for comb jellies, which were very few and far between.  I know they were there but were not coming to the surface because the conditions were just not right- small waves, they like perfect calm.

As I continued to look I saw a cownose ray swim along the surface about 50 feet away. All was quiet and mostly still. Then suddenly, about 4 feet off the side of the boat , a big object lauched out of the water like a polaris missile. I was completely startled and, at first, thought a diver was blowing up out of the water. It turned out to be an adult loggerhead sea turtle who was in obvious need of a big  breath of air and launched partly out of the water!

The turtle was startled to see me and my boat and quickly submerged again . It moved away and popped up a total of 4 times to get quick breaths. I never saw it again after the four breath but it was headed in the direction of Cox creek. It’s head was massive and unfortunately I never got to see the tail to see if it was a male or female. I’m guessing that it was foraging in this area for horseshoe crabs and blue crabs, which are both abundant.

I have spent a great deal of time out on these waters and have always hoped to encounter a sea turtle in the Bay. Yesterday, while looking for jellies, that wish finally came true. Thought you’d like to hear about a healthy sea turtle out there doing its thing!

2 Responses to “From the Curator: Healthy sea life in the bay”

  1. 1 Ted August 13, 2009 at 10:20 pm

    Hello! Our selection committee compiled an exclusive list of theTop aquarium Blogs, and yours was included in the Top 100! Check it out at

    You can claim your Top 100 Blogs Award Badge at

  2. 2 Carly August 26, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    Wow didnt know how cool jellies could be!

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