Monday, 27 April 2015

Turtle Rescue!

I have been an Open Water Diver for nearly a year now but I have to admit I have not been diving since being certified. John is always trying to persuade me to go diving but there really were no opportunities in South America and I really didn't fancy it in Trinidad but John being John he mentioned it to Ted. Ted is Texan we have become friendly with here in Prickly Bay, he lives on his boat Aurora and loves to dive. Saturday evening he called us on the VHF to ask me if I wanted to go diving the next morning over to the  Underwater Sculpture Park and then onto Flamingo Bay. It was an  opportunity I would have been foolish to miss. Up bright and early on Sunday John dropped me off at ScubaTech and it was with some trepidation, I have to admit ,that I kitted out ready to go diving again. Ted and I were joined by James, currently living in Canada and anxious to dive the Sculpture Park, Eveline, the owner of ScubaTech and Akki (Sorry if I've spelt that wrong) , who is a dive instructor but also drives the Dive Boat. 
As the Boat made its way to the Sculpture Park I noticed something in the water. We weren't sure at first what it was could it be a Turtle or perhaps a small whale? As we got closer we realised that it was a Leatherback Turtle that had got herself completely tied up in a fishermans net and she was desperately struggling to swim and breathe. She must have been over 2 metres and Akki's suggestion that we bring her onto the boat to cut off the net was well intentioned as she weighed probably half a ton or more it was not going to happen! So Eveline and Ted quickly got into their wet suits put on their snorkels and armed with diving knives went into the water to rescue her. James not having a knife went in as well to take some photos. 

                                  No easy task cutting away fishing nets off a Leatherback!

I stayed with Akki on board as I really did not think I was a strong enough swimmer and the guys did not want me getting into difficulty along with the turtle! 
It was a struggle for Eveline and Ted, the nets were made of nylon which proved to be a mother to cut and the net was well and truly wrapped around the poor turtle who was flailing around in the water desperate for air. However the guys were not going to be beaten and despite the Turtle packing a punch with her flailing flippers and at one time going down with her as she submerged the water, they managed to free off all the net from fear flippers and head. As soon as she realised she was free she was off!  She did have some of the net still attached to her but she was swimming freely and I truly hope she makes it. It was exhausting watching the guys at work and they were working on the Turtle for a good 40 minutes or so and I am glad all their efforts were rewarded. 

                                           The net had well and truly caught up the Turtle

With everyone back on the Dive Boat we went off to the Underwater Sculpture Park. The water was crystal clear and I had a great dive ....despite my misgivings I really enjoyed it 
What a morning it had turned out to be! 

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