Turtle Rescue in Grenada: Ocean Spirits

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Caribbean Compass’ column “Caribbean ECO-News” is a wonderful source of information on environment-related news in the region. Lynn Fletcher, from Le Phare Bleu (“Life is never dull running a marina and hotel in Grenada.”) reports on the efforts of Ocean Spirits, an NGO devoted to the protection of Grenada’s natural environment, and the latest event in local turtle rescue activity.

We at Le Phare Bleu often receive calls requesting help, including calls to assist yachts in distress. Being located on the southeast coast of the island we can be on hand before most others, and, if we can, are always happy to help. So when the phone rang recently and we were asked to come to the aid of a 400-pound leatherback turtle we didn’t hesitate. Location confirmed, contact numbers and camera in hand, a boat was launched to go and assist with our two willing crewmembers.

Ocean Spirits, an NGO devoted to the protection of Grenada’s natural environment, had been contacted hours earlier by a concerned cruiser, and volunteers swam out 300 metres to the very stressed turtle to assess her situation. Badly entangled in a web of lines and floats connected to an anchor, the turtle was tired and had to surface every 30 seconds to breathe; drowning was not far away. The Ocean Spirits volunteers, who were only armed with a small knife, needed to free the turtle from the anchor as soon as possible and bring the female leatherback to shore where she could be untangled.

After Le Phare Bleu’s RIB arrived, the anchor line was cut and the turtle was slowly and safely towed ashore. After being freed from all the lines, she was tagged and released to continue her journey. [. . .] This 30-year-old leatherback turtle could have been on her way to lay her eggs, but let’s hope she had already performed this intensive task. If you are in the Caribbean during April through to July it is well worth contacting organizations such as Ocean Spirits Inc. to see how you can help protect these animals during their journey to lay their eggs.

Ocean Spirits is a non-profit devoted to the protection of Grenada’s natural environment through education, research and community based eco-tourism practices since 1999.

For more information visit www.oceanspirits.org

For more on Caribbean Compass, see http://www.caribbeancompass.com/online/compass_online.pdf

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