Tourists Rescue 9 Baby Sea Turtles from Hotel Swimming Pool and Hot Tub in Florida
They spent hours returning all nine of the disoriented hatchlings to the ocean.
Hoover, Alabama, resident Ashley Willett experienced an especially wild weekend during a visit to Pensacola Beach last week.
Willett told the Pensacola News Journal that she and her friend Davis Campbell spotted a single baby sea turtle swimming in the hot tub at the Pensacola Beach Days Inn around 1 or 2 a.m. on Saturday night.
Willett scooped up the wayward swimmer and showed it to another hotel guest, who pointed to another baby turtle in the pool.
"I was like, 'You're just gonna let it just swim around in there?'" she recalled. "There's a lot of chlorine in there."
Willett told the News Journal that she struggled with the decision to release the disoriented sea turtles into the ocean in the middle of the night, but eventually she figured it was the best thing for them.
WATCH: Watch This Baby Sea Turtle Make Its Way To The Ocean
"It was hard. I didn't know if they were ready," she said. "I had my friend look it up (on Google) to see if they were ready to go. So, we let them go, then went back to the hotel and found three more in the pool and hot tub."
Willett and her friend ended up finding a total of nine sea turtles that night a few of which were in the pool's storm drain. Together they made three trips back and forth to the beach to let every one of them go.
“It was a magical!!!” she wrote on Facebook alongside photos and a video of the adorable rescue.
The next day, Willett said she met another guest who collected 15 more baby sea turtles from the Days Inn parking lot. Those 15 were reportedly released into the ocean as well.
Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission Public Info Coordinator Karen Parker told the News Journal that the FWC received a call from Days Inn staff early Saturday and determined it was a case of nest disorientation. They believe the baby turtles were likely drawn by the hotel lighting.
Should a similar situation arise, Parker advised the public to call the FWC's 24-hour hotline number at 888-404-3922.