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Finding Her Wonderland

Artwork by Susan Baur

Have you met the “Turtle Lady?” Well if you had, you would not soon forget her quick wit and infectious passion for Testudines. Author of The Turtle Sisters series, Susan Baur, or “Turtle Lady” as she is known, can be found scouring our local ponds in search of her next story. 

After moving to Cape Cod in the late 1960s for a fellowship she had won to conduct research for her upcoming books on oceanography, naturally, as anyone would when moving to the Cape, she began to take up swimming. And when she did swim, she swam in salt water—that is until she moved from Woods Hole to Chatham. 

“You don’t swim in salt water in Chatham,” relays Baur. “It wasn’t a shark problem back then, it was a cold and a current problem. With the current in Chatham, people die every single year—eh, not doing it. So, I tried various salt waters and thought, ‘No, no, no.’ So my partner Peter said, ‘How about ponds?’ And I said, ‘Well sure, let’s try that.’ Oh I hated them, hated them. They were dark, they were muddy; I’m walking through mud the consistency of yogurt and I would watch it come up between my toes, I thought, ‘Who would swim in this?’ Yuck!” But giving ponds a chance, Baur found herself swimming late in the afternoon after she was done with her writing for the day. “The sun would go down behind the trees and huge shadows would come out and lie on the water. Because I was swimming alone, I swam relatively close to shore. As I was swimming along through the shadows and—you know how shadows are, they are not consistent, so it was like swimming in a cave,” she explains. As she made her way…

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