As the day of Yoshi the magnificent loggerhead sea turtle's release approaches, many of you have shared your fondest memories of her with us and said your farewells - and we'd like to share some of your Yoshi-moments with the world.
We are grateful that we have been able to host such an incredible animal as Yoshi, who has touched so many lives and instilled a love of the ocean in so many people. When asked "how long do loggerheads live?" we usually answer: "They average about 67 years, but can easily live well over 100." But now we know this is wrong:
Yoshi has proven that loggerheads live many lifetimes - she will live in the fond memories of the millions of visitors who have stood in awe of her at the Two Oceans Aquarium.
“The first thing I noticed when we arrived was that the training that the Aquarium guys have been doing to build Yoshi up for her big day has definitely had an effect. Her behaviour was very different from usual: she was very active, very busy. Usually, when we’re there, she’s dozing like a beagle in her favourite corner. Not today.” – 6000.co.za
“Obviously, we’ll miss Yoshi, but she’s definitely off to a better place (no, not like that). For all that she has been a great ambassador for the Aquarium and for turtlekind, Yoshi’s true home is the ocean.” – 6000.co.za
6000.co.za wrote and amazing blog about Yoshi's farewell.
“They never intended to have turtles in the Aquarium, because their shells would scratch the tanks… but when a passing Fishing trawler got hold of them, Yoshi found a way. And that was way back in July 1997. When Yoshi arrived she was a young turtle, who weighed only 2 kilograms… and this month she will be leaving as a 182 kg adult turtle, whose favourite food is red bait.” – se7en
se7en attended the Yoshi farewell event and wrote a great blog post.
“I had the privilege of diving with her in the I&J exhibit. Go well sweety! Make us proud!
” – Bianca Dessington
“We’re at the Aquarium almost every other weekend as it is one space that both of our boys love. Our younger son, just gone 2, makes a beeline for Yoshi as soon as we arrive and always talks about Yoshi before our visit and after we leave. We’ll definitely miss her, but her absence will be a great way to teach them about the work of an aquarium and ecology.” – Jane Battersby
“I volunteered at TOA for about 5 or 6 years back in my student days. Many many tea breaks were spent watching and admiring this beautiful animal. She saw me through some tough times back then...it was often the highlight of my day. My toddler has since come to be in awe of her... we will miss this 'biiig turtle' but wish her well and safe travels. A piece of my heart will go with her.” – Ruth Erasmus
“I was in primary school when I first saw Yoshi. With a special thanks to Iain, I was able to dive in the I&J Ocean Exhibit to meet her twenty years later. Here's to saving our oceans and to hoping she produces many more Yoshis! Thank you for the memories and I hope you have a very happy life in our oceans.” – Megan Wakefield
“No way! That's big news. I first came across her when trying to photograph the sharks and she photobombed me by swimming right past my lens in front of the sharks. ” – Shawn Murran
“Yoshi played a huge role in our lives while my daughter was being treated for childhood cancer at Red Cross Children's Hospital. We visited Yoshi almost every week for a year.
My daughter is really happy that there will be lots of little Yoshis. Safe journey to our dear friend. You helped us through a really rough time and we will be grateful forever.” – Katja Dreyer
“This is a picture of my son’s first dive in the I&J Ocean Exhibit – it was his 12th birthday present. According to him, it was the best present he has ever received. Good luck Yoshi - we will miss seeing you at the Aquarium. ” – Dionne Awaldien
“My daughter Fe is 5 years old and must be one of Yoshi’s biggest fans.
A while ago she made this drawing of the turtles.
We will miss Yoshi, but are happy that she can go back to the ocean.” – Ineke
“I visited from England this April. Aquariums are among my favourite places so we were sure to check out Cape Town’s Aquarium. Turtles are my favourite animals and I spent hours entranced by the marine life.
Here is a picture of me with Yoshi.
” – Daisy Taylor
“It's great to hear that Yoshi will be going back to her natural habitat, but we'll definitely miss her! May she have many little ones and thrive in the wild.
” – Robyn van der Merwe
“She is so lovely!! Thank you for all you have done to save her.....she will swim free and be forever grateful I'm sure!” – Tracy Pretorius
“Yoshi is really beautiful and deserves to roam the open ocean as she is meant to do. We should feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to witness her in her glory, but it's time she has a chance to live her best life. Thank you for all your hard work Two Oceans Aquarium - you are a highlight in Cape Town.” – Jess Kipling
“I have two pictures of Yoshi on my bathroom wall painted by Carol Hadfield.
When Yoshi is released I will still have her forever in my bathroom!” – Yvonne
“My 3 year old son instantly fell in love with Yoshi when we visited for the first time.
He said “Mommy, look – a ninja turtle” – Lizette Michaelson
“I spend more time watching Yoshi than anything else in the Aquarium, although I do love the penguins as well! My favourite memories are of when I got to touch her with my bare hands and that I got to share the experience with my daughter. Love you Yoshi! Be safe and make us proud!” – Fatima Sait
“My two toddlers have grown up visiting Yoshi almost every week. She is the highlight of our visit and although we'll be heartbroken to see her go, we know that she was never meant to live in captivity (as loved and cared for as she has been with you). May she live a long (long!) and happy life in the world outside.
” – Jessica van Rensburg
“My daughter is both happy and sad. She's trying to help the penguins and turtles by teaching her friends not to litter or use straws or balloons. In return she was privileged to meet Bob and Sandy and loves watching Yoshi. She says she's happy Yoshi gets to go home, but is sad she won't get to see her again.” – Kath Wimbush
“Being so far away here in Bangkok, I still miss my great time in Cape Town a lot. I have heard about the news that Yoshi is going to be released back to the ocean soon. The news makes me feel happy and a bit sad at the same time...but, most of all, nostalgic. I still feel thankful for diving at the aquarium or I wouldn't have ever touched Yoshi ever. When I touched her, I was really thinking to myself how I would probably have no chances to come this close to such an amazing creature again. Now that Yoshi is going back to nature, it saddens me a little. But of course, it is great that Yoshi is going back home eventually. ” – Nuan
Farewell Yoshi, thank you for the lasting impression you have made on every human heart you've touched. You are the truest example of an ocean ambassador we've ever known.
If you'd still like to share your own Yoshi memories, simply tag #farewellyoshi on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.