16 September 2011

Sea turtle rescue

     My mornings at False Bluff begin with a cup of hot tea.  I sit on the end of the dock and enjoy the small movements of life along the creek and the way morning breezes ripple the water.   It's a good way to start a day.   So my employees knew just where to find me with the news that breakfast had washed up on the beach.
     A sea turtle, not wrapped in a purposeful net but instead trapped in a melange of the garbage that churns around in the sea, had given up its fight for freedom and washed ashore near the outdoor kitchen.   Two of the men had hauled it, wrapped in odd pieces of rope and fishing line, upside down onto a pile of coconuts set aside for sprouting; and then came to get me.   
     I had done other odd things, like using a pontoon boat and caulking cracks in the siding of the small house, so everyone took with grace the news that neither this turtle nor any other that was born on or found its way to my place would be killed for food.   In fact I think they had expected this would be my reaction which is why they came to get me before killing the turtle instead of after.
     We flipped the turtle right-side-up and cut it loose from all the crap in which it was enmeshed.   Really tired, it took awhile to get to the water, but once there swam away with no hesitation.  
     Although sea turtles 'cry' to flush salt from their eyes, the tears this turtle shed may have been the turning point in a lifelong habit of at least one of the men present:  he says he won't eat turtle meat again.   The only live turtles he'd seen before that morning were trussed up at market and ready for slaughter; and I reckon by the time he saw those turtles they were all cried out.   He was also fascinated by the way the turtle moved...he'd never thought about it and certainly had never seen it.  
     The last picture below - of the turtle's tracks on its way into the water - is my desktop background. 
Tea at the dock
Part of the debris that was wrapped around the turtle
Heading for safety