Tibetan monks took part in a very special turtle release. After blessing “Drifter,” a rehabilitated loggerhead sea turtle, they released him back into the sea at the Islander Resort in Islamorada. TIFFANY DUONG/Keys Weekly

Drifter, a sub-adult loggerhead sea turtle, was released back to the sea in sacred style. He was rescued last November when he was found floating and unable to dive off Bahia Honda. After three months of rehabilitation at the Turtle Hospital, including rounds of antibiotics, fluids, vitamins and a healthy diet, Drifter came to the Islander for one final blessing. Tibetan Monks visiting the Keys from the Drepung Gomang monastery in India performed an animal liberation ceremony for Drifter before releasing him back to his home. Bette Zirkelbach, manager at the Turtle Hospital, called the ceremony “a sacred experience” and unlike anything she had participated in before. She said, “The cadence of the chanting monks reverberated within and around us with such a beautiful energy, bringing a sense of inner peace. It was a perfect send-off for Drifter, one I will not soon forget.”

Tibetan monks and representatives from the Turtle Hospital in Marathon and the Islander Resort in Islamorada collaborated to send Drifter, a loggerhead sea turtle, back into the ocean with a multitude of blessings and good wishes. TIFFANY DUONG/Keys Weekly
Tibetan monks from the Drepung Gomang Monastery performed an animal liberation ceremony for “Drifter,” a loggerhead sea turtle that was released at the Islander Resort in Islamorada. TIFFANY DUONG/Keys Weekly
Tibetan monks and representatives from the Turtle Hospital in Marathon and the Islander Resort in Islamorada collaborated to send Drifter, a loggerhead sea turtle, back into the ocean with a multitude of blessings and good wishes. TIFFANY DUONG/Keys Weekly

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