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On Turtles

Sep 23, 2009


Location: Mountain Point, Virgin Gorda
Author: Eric
Today was our second day at Mountain Point, and we started the day off right with a delicious meal of scrambled eggs. After an introduction to the science equipment, we geared up for a morning of turtle tagging. All the shipmates got into snorkel gear, and we slowly towed them over the reef, looking for turtles. After a few false sightings, a real live turtle was seen! But alas, too deep to catch. We returned to Ocean Star two hours later, colder and wetter but with no turtle to show for our efforts.andlt;br /andgt;After lunch the open water students went on their second open water dive with Casey while Emily and Charlie went on a checkout dive. A post dive hike was planned, but a loyal contingent decided to remain behind and take another go at finding a turtle. Twenty minutes into our search, we hit the jackpot! A hawksbill turtle swimming on the bottom in twenty feet of water. Soon a pack of snorkellers were corralling the turtle towards shallower water for what would seem to be an easy catch. Just as Casey was closing in on the turtle, it surfaced for air, and, refreshed, put on a burst of speed and headed out to sea, forcing us to follow as fast as we could on the surface. Finally, Casey and I began to dive after the turtle as a pair, one person surfacing while the other was on the bottom. After a 45 minute chase, the turtle was caught in 30 feet of water and gently brought to the surface. Back aboard Ocean Star we measured and tagged the turtle before returning it to the sea.andlt;br /andgt;