WE RESCUED A SEA TURTLE FROM THIS FISHING NET!!!!!
If you don't mind, dear reader, today as a special treat I would like to regale you with an exciting tale of honu* liberation and feminine strength in the face of danger that happened just this past Thursday on Kaupo beach, O'ahu. Have I gotten you at all intrigued...?
My girl Oli and I decided to come out to the beach and we wanted to chill in more secluded area so when we scoped out and got set up at the perfect spot we noticed this 30 yard long weighted dragnet which was suspended with tiny buoys on top. It was set up perpendicular to the beach in the water attached to a bunch of rocks throughout and heavier weights on either end.
We couldn't figure out what it was doing there all day with seemingly no one around and at one point we noticed a young sea turtle swimming close to the shore. We quickly realized that due to the tide the honu was headed straight for the net! We looked at each other and ran out to the waist-deep water just as the turtle hit the net and got all tangled up. He was probably about 18 inches long and was struggling so badly, getting more and more caught up.
We tried grabbing him and pulling it off but he was really flailing around and smacking us away with his flippers. We just couldn't get it off and I could see it was tightening on his neck so finally I just grabbed the turtle by the shell and bear-hugged him belly to belly and started speaking soothingly to him to calm him down - which actually worked!!- while Oli pulled the net from around his neck and flippers.
It was so scary yet so exhilarating! As soon as we got the lil guy free Oli held the net down so I could release the turtle to the other side and he zoomed faster than you would even believe. Thank goodness he was okay!
We called DNR to come cut it down but as we were waiting up on the shore we actually saw another turtle probably three times as big about to go into the net as well. Once again we jumped up and had to run out in order to scare off that turtle, and then at that point we felt we had to go ahead and just gather up the huge net. We both scratched our feet on the coral as we struggled to untangle and drag this big heavy net but it was worth it because in the next hour or two we saw at least 3 - 4 more turtles that would've got caught in it too! I honestly think we saved at least five or six turtles' lives on Thursday.
The worst part is, through speaking with the DNR guy we found out there were reports of other nets similar to this being set around the island, most likely to catch turtles. I am positive the turtle capture was no accident because this was a new net purposefully set up like this in an area where there are almost no fish and plenty of feeding sea turtles. Ugh, it just makes you sick!
Anyhoo, the good news is that DNR now knows the spot and will keep an eye on it. Plus my journalist friend said she might do a story in order to shed light for the community to keep an eye out and report any nets set up like that.
Honestly Oli and I felt so blessed by Pele herself to be able to be there to help those beautiful honu. It was certainly an experience we will never ever forget!!
*honu - Hawai'ian for sea turtle
Please Note: These are not my photos of sea turtles (I wish!) but they are the same kind as the fellas we rescued. Click image for source.
originally posted: July 29, 2017