The turtles, Snap, Crackle and Pop, swam quickly into Chesapeake Bay when members of the aquarium stranding response team lowered them into the water and let them go about 50 feet from shore, the Virginian-Pilot reported.
"OK, guys! They're ready to go home," Wendy Walton, a veterinarian technician, cried to onlookers who had waded into the water to watch the release. "They've had a long trip."
The turtles were found earlier this summer in an intake canal at a nuclear power plant in New Jersey. They were transferred to Virginia from the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine.
The aquarium decided to release the turtles at Cape Charles, a town on the bay, after another sea turtle was successfully released there.
Kemp's Ridleys Turtles, the rarest sea turtle and classified as an endangered species, nest in the Gulf of Mexico. They wander as far north as Massachusetts and are one of the sea turtles most often seen in Virginia waters.
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