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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

9/7/2011 - Snorkeling

Yesterday we joined the crews of sailing vessels Trick, Merilon, Trinity, and Kashmir on a little snorkeling trip.  We dinghied over to an off-lying rock that looked promising.  Once geared up, it was over the side to start exploring among the rocks at the base of the big rock.  It was pretty cool.  The water temperature was warm enough so that getting chilled wasn't even a remote possibility.  We saw lots of Damsel Fish, some Parrot Fish, and lots of smaller fish that we couldn't identify.  John & Patricia from s/v Trick knew the names of lots of them and told us but, of course, I promptly forgot most of what we were told.  Mick from Kashmir saw a barracuda shortly after entering the water.  We probably hung around this site for a couple of hours.

After awhile we decided to move on.  As we were crossing the channel between the rock and the mainland we all spotted something floating in the water and decided to check it out.  As we got closer, it became obvious that it was a sea turtle.  Our experience with turtles thus far is that they dive as soon as you get very near them. But this one was behaving differently.  He/she (let's just call her "she" from now on) let us approach right alongside.  It was hard to tell whether or not she was alive.  What little movement we saw could have been attributed to wave action.  But still, there seemed to be the occasional flipper movement that made us think that maybe she was alive after all.  Finally, John reached over and lifted the front of her shell to get her head out of the water in case she was unable to get a good breath under her own steam.  At this point it was evident that she was definitely alive but very weak.  Richard from Trinity hopped in the water and got some close-up photos.  Finally, she seemed to be a little stronger and John released her.  She swam off under her own power, if somewhat weakly.

Richard, Mick and Mike proceeded back to their boats and John, Patricia, Lulu and I went on to snorkel on another reef.  Lots more fish here.  It was very cool to be surrounded by a school of Sargeant Majors who were definitely more curious than cautious.  Lulu even spotted two small octopuses.  We probably hung around here for about an hour.  I surfaced near the dinghy at one point and saw Richard returning in his dinghy.  "Where's John?" he yelled.  I pointed him out and Richard yelled "We have to go back to the turtle!".  Seems he'd downloaded his photos back a the boat and, upon inspection saw a hunk of fishing net wrapped around one of the turtle's rear flippers.  None of us could see the net when we were alongside her but it showed up clearly in Richard's photos.  Richard headed off in search of the turtle and we all got back aboard the dinghy and, after shedding our gear, followed him.

Amazingly, Richard actually found her again.  By the time we got there he had cut the netting loose.  She still wasn't looking too chipper though.  John repeated his "hold her head out of the water" routine and eventually she again seemed a little stronger. He released her and again she swam off under her own steam, if somewhat weakly.  We wished her well although I don't think any of us have an awful lot of hope that she'll survive very long as she seemed very weak.

Richard headed back to Trinity and we headed to a little indent in the shoreline to have some chips and something to drink and visit for awhile.  Eventually it was time to head back to our boats which we did with plans to get together for another snorkel tomorrow.

It was a picture-perfect day.  Sorry there aren't any pictures to prove it.


Mid-Life Cruising! said...

Wow, snorkeling in warm water ... sounds perfect! So sad about the turtle ... I hope she makes it! Thanks to ya'll for going back to help her. We would have had to do the same. We love sea turtles, and rarely get to enjoy them since we live in Louisiana!

Anonymous said...

What a shame. There is so much junk in the waters that it is amazing that it does happen more. Maybe it does and we just don't know about it. My son the turtle saver. Love, Mom