Publication Date: 2/24/22

You can stay at The Painted Turtle Condo in Carolina Beach and meet the author!

The magic of Key West was not lost on Caroline. The crystal-clear water was always between 70 and 90 degrees. The seagrass was everywhere, and she was never without food. The sea creatures were all happy and friendly. They included her immediately even though they’d never seen a turtle like Caroline.

Jimmy the manatee had become a close friend. He was very wise and happy to share his knowledge. She still had so much to learn!

One such day, Caroline was following Jimmy through a narrow area of water between Sunset Key and Mallory Square. They were swimming as deep as they could to avoid the humans and their boats. Suddenly, Jimmy stopped and motioned to Caroline to do the same. Up ahead she could see a strange creature. It was multi-colored, and it had flippers, but they didn’t look real.

Jimmy turned to Caroline “That’s a human!” Caroline was startled. Jimmy continued, “They have to bring their air with them. See the bubbles? And those flippers aren’t real. Humans don’t have flippers.”

Caroline was confused “Why is it in the water? It could get hurt, right?”

Jimmy nodded his head “They are definitely curious creatures! And smart, but still reckless, I say!” The pair decided to swim around the other way.

The human, a girl named Dara, had seen Jimmy and Caroline. Dara had a clear view of all the creatures in the area. She was so startled, she forgot she had a camera in her hands! Did she just see a rainbow-colored turtle? And was that turtle communicating with a manatee? Were they…friends? Dara shook her head and tried to convince herself that the mix of air in her tank must be wrong. She slowly swam back up to the surface.

When she reached the surface, her co-worker Teresa was on the dock. They both worked at the Key West Aquarium. Teresa helped her out of the water and helped her get the air tank off.

“Did you get the photos of the reef?” Teresa asked. They were trying to improve the spiny lobster exhibit at the aquarium.

“Yes, I did,” said Dara. She wasn’t about to mention what she saw. “Could you have Leo check the air mix in my tank? I feel a little lightheaded.”

“Sure!” said Teresa. “I bet you could eat some lunch too. I’m hungry!” She smiled at Dara and the two walked down the dock to the aquarium.

That night Dara couldn’t sleep. Leo had assured her that the air mix in her tank was correct. She knew there was always more to learn about marine life creatures, but what she had seen was hard to understand. Those creatures were acting like humans! She decided to spend more time observing the turtles at the aquarium. Dara was convinced that humans were missing something!

Caroline couldn’t stop thinking about the human in the water. From what she had been told, they were the reason that the oceans were dirty and sick. Maybe they were trying to fix their mistakes? Could they? Were they that smart? She decided to observe humans more often. Caroline was convinced that sea creatures were missing something!

Caroline needed advice and knew better than to ask Jimmy. Since his accident with a boat and his time with humans while he healed, he was a bit scared to get comfortable with them again. She understood and respected his decision. However, she had her own life to live and needed more information. Caroline went in search of Aki. She would know what to do!

Read more in the books or Ebooks (on Amazon)!

You can own a small version of Caroline now! Sold in my Etsy shop:

The plush version of Caroline, The Painted Turtle.