It’s heartbreaking to see such as small beautiful animal like this juvenile hawksbill sea turtle entangled in a discarded piece of fishing net. Luckily there was still time to turn this situation around.
While on a surface interval at Castle Rock Ketut noticed a piece of fishing net drifting past the boat and inside was a very small hawksbill sea turtle. Not wasting a moment Ketut pulled the turtle onboard the boat and began to gently cut away the net which was completely wrapped around the poor animal. Luckily the net had not done any physical damage to the turtle and as soon as she was cut free we gently put her back into her ocean home where she promptly swam straight down. Wahoo!
Not five minutes after being released from the confines of the fishing net the little turtle came swimming back to the boat and began to swim back and fourth along the back of the boat. We all thought, “Ohhh how cute, she’s come to say good by to Ketut.” We soon realized that this was not a Disney movie farewell, she was really stressed out because the current was strong for the exhausted little animal and the water was close to 70 meters deep which must have been too deep for her. Turtles typically hang around shallow reefs where they can easily dive down to look for food and we were in the deep blue.
Rather than let her stress out any more or get swept into the open ocean Ketut and I gently scooped up the little turtle and loaded her into one of the dinghies and zipped off to the closest bay where we thought she would be safe and have plenty of coral to munch on. Once again we gently set her back into the water, only this time she remained on the surface for close to a minute. It appeared like she was just taking a minute to calm down after the whole ordeal with lots of deep breaths. Once she had relaxed a bit more she made the plunge down to her new home.
It’s a horrible thing to see an animal you love so much in a life threatening situation, especially one humans have created. However, the feeling of being able to help one of my most favorite ocean animals is easily one of the best feelings you could have and I’m just glad Ketut was able to spot the distressed turtle so we could help her on her way!
Mermaid II Bali – Komodo – Bali
Jul 9-16, 2016
By Alex Lindbloom