Yoshi the hardcore traveller

You would have surely heard of Yoshi – a rescued loggerhead turtle that was released back to the ocean two years ago from Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town, South Africa, who has become an international celebrity ever since. She has recorded the longest journey for any tracked animal ever, which is pretty amazing.

Yoshi taking a bow. She loved the attention from the divers that fed her and the other occupants in the tank loved her right back. She was one of their favorites. Courtesy Two Oceans Aquarium.

Yoshi’s Rescue
Yoshi is a loggerhead turtle that was rescued by a Japanese fishing vessel and was handed
over to the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town for rehabilitation in 1997. She lived at this aquarium for more than 20 years and was released back into the ocean more than 2 years ago in 2017. When she arrived at the aquarium she was only 2kgs (4.4 pounds) and she was released at 183 kgs (403.44 pounds).Two Oceans Aquarium had only been open for two years back in 1997 and Yoshi was one of the first rescue aquatic animals they undertook. They learned a lot about rescues and rehabilitation of turtles from Yoshi. They have rescued and rehabilitated more than 600 turtles in the past two decades.

She quickly became the highlight of the aquarium and came to be known as the “Queen of the exhibit”.

Maryke Musson the CEO of the aquarium is a huge fan of Yoshi. She quoted “She was so cute and soon crept into all of our hearts. She loved the divers and her food.”

Yoshi ,and in she goes
Yoshi takes the deep dive with a little help from her friends. Notice the satellite device on her shell.

When her breeding instincts started to kick in they started to prepare her for release.

Yoshi’s journey.

However, before she was released they wanted to find out whether the turtle remembers its origin and returns to its breeding ground. So with the help of donors and the government, they attached a satellite geotagging device and have been tracking her movement for more than two years now.

Yoshi’s first steps to freedom in 20 years

Once she was released, she traveled up the West Coast to Namibia and Angola and was once again off the shore of Cape Town. But then she headed over to the Indian Ocean and towards Australia.

Two Oceans Aquarium announced on Twitter on 27 January 2020.

“Real turtle excitement! Yoshi has swum an incredible 35 400km (21 997 miles) in the two years since her release – that’s an amazing 48km (28.9 miles per day )! In human terms, she’s swum 1.5 million lengths of a gym swimming pool – and that’s only half of her migration path.”

Map of Yoshi's journey
Yoshi’s travels . That is a heck of a long way even by plane but Yoshi being Yoshi decided nah…I’ll just swim it.

That’s a record-breaking migration even for a turtle. It almost as though, the turtle had an
instinct that it had to go to Australia for something. Yoshi is only 25 years and turtles live for more than 100 years  and she may travel the world even more , who knows.

She is in lovely weather conditions 27℃ (86 F) and South-Eastern current and winds of 13 km/h.She has recorded more kilometers than Nicole, a popular great white shark that was rescued and released and had traveled 11,000km (6835 miles).

The CEO also added “Yoshi has always done things her way, and she might just keep us guessing for a while longer, perhaps she is just filling up on some tasty morsels, or perhaps this stop will be a more significant spot on her journey. We should know pretty soon whether Yoshi is an Australian after all, and if she is about to add to the global loggerhead population.”

“Yoshi has done us all proud and we cannot wait to see what she will get up to next.”
Yoshi has also made various pit stops at various coastal areas for feeding. So the current stop in Australia may or may not be just another stop.

Yoshi, presently
Yoshi currently seems to be heading to a small Fishing town in Australia, Point Samson, which is a major turtle nesting beach. However, scientists and enthusiasts are curious whether she is home for breeding or just after some coastal treats.

Her journey is so inspiring and interesting that Australian Scientists are also interested in
Yoshi’s journey. They also promised to renew the batteries of the satellite device once she
reaches the shore. The satellite device has been working constantly for 2 years and its battery may soon die out.

Yoshi in the Two Oceans Aquarium
Two Oceans Aquarium,Cape Town. Credit Karin Schembrucker

Two Oceans Aquarium is glad that Australian researchers and scientists are ready with
replacing the satellite tag on Yoshi which will help to track her movements better and for a
longer time. With the success of Yoshi’s rescue, the aquarium has undertaken many more turtles for rehabilitation and release. They also launched a campaign in the name of Yoshi’s journey with a pledge to rescue more turtles.  However, it is quite unsure whether Yoshi is here for a stop or might be a part of the breeding process.

The Two Oceans aquarium and various other researchers, scientists and enthusiasts are
curious whether she will lay her own eggs or move on to another coastal region. Not only them, but it is certain that the whole world is captivated by this intriguing journey of going home  going home and eager to know where Yoshi’s perseverance takes her.

A quick word about South Africa:Due to its weak exchange rate does it probably gives more bang for your buck than any other country in the world. If you want good accomodation, fantastic restaurants and cheap car rentals, you’ll love South Africa . The restaurants, malls ,general scenery and game reserves are truly world class. Competition amongst airlines is also heating up and ticket prices are coming down. It is still a 15 hours flight from Atlanta and New York though.  There I can’t help you . All of us are waiting for Elon Musk (also a born and bred South African by the way) to get his shit together and figure out teleportation. Forget about going to Mars for the moment Elon. Western Europe to Johannesburg is between 8-11 hours flying time. No jet lag for you though .Yeah!

When In Cape Town South Africa, please visit the Two Oceans Aquarium. A world class Aquarium at laughable rates if you are paying in USD or EURO.

When anywhere in South Africa ask for biltong. You won’t regret it.


Yoshi ,a loggerhead turtle
Yoshi full grown and ready to go!




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