Monday, July 20, 2015

Honu Heroes!

We have been having a marvelous, fantastic, lovely and enjoyable time with our son and his wife here in Paradise.  Havilah was able to stay for one week. Mike stayed for another week longer. There has been snorkeling, touring, climbing, eating, eating, eating, work (both at PCC and at our home) and lots and lots of beach time.




Today, as a last hurrah, Mike and Ron thought they would go see if they could make it out to Goat Island, just north of us along the beach. I wimped out.

I got home just in time to hear a fantastic story and thought you all would enjoy it too!

So the guys were heading out to Goat Island, but found that it was just too rough, so they just snorkeled around the coral.  As he was talking, Mike showed me this picture:


Yeah, his finger got in the way - but what he was looking at was some great coral.

He then turned around and saw a.....



SEA TURTLE = or as we call it here on the islands, A HONU! 
And right behind the sea turtle was Dad.
What in the world was Dad doing?  Oh, wait. He was holding on to something.
That something turned out to be fishing line. It was wrapped around the turtle. Not just a little,
mind you. It was wrapped around and around her flippers, her neck, more flippers, back to the neck. She was completely wrapped up in it.


They tried to get it off, but it was impossible. Oh to have that diving knife Elder Jones has been coveting. But even if he did, he could not have done anything with that much string under water. He tried to hold on to the turtle, but she was having none of that, so he took her as gently as he could, rolled her onto her back - placing her head above water and onto his chest and began to swim towards the shore.



Trouble is, that fishing line was not only tangled on her, it was tangled in the coral. This is where Michael came in. He work hard to hold slack on the line so it wouldn't cut into the turtle as Elder Jones made his way to the beach. After a while, Michael was able to break the line - hurrah!

They saw a family out on the beach and called out "do you have a knife?" They hauled the turtle up onto the beach, still sunny-side up, and soon a razor blade knife appeared.  The grandmother of the family seemed to know exactly where to cut and how. Soon the turtle was free.


But was she okay? Elder Jones inspected and found small abrasions on one flipper, but no deep wounds. She seemed tired and confused - but otherwise - miraculously in good shape. 


 They turned her over and placed her at the water's edge, but the waves were slapping her around. This approach was not working.


So, back onto Elder Jones' chest she went, out into the ocean. He knew if she didn't respond well soon, they would have to call the local conservation volunteers. But as he got past the breakers and turned her over, he said she perked up and BAM - shot out into the ocean like a bullet...full of energy and one purpose of thought - to get away from these crazy creatures and back to the safety of deep water.

It was a perfect end to a great visit. We love our honus! Elder Jones was told a Japanese fable of a turtle once saved by a kindly villager. Later that honu came back to repay the villager for their kindness. "Maybe," she said "this turtle will come back and visit you someday."

How fun that would be! We love our honus!

Note: It is illegal throughout the US to harass, hold on to, ride, climb on, pet or bother sea turtles. It comes with up to a $2,000 fine and up to 30 days in jail. But in this case, the NOAA states: 

Line entanglement around flippers, head or neck is the greatest threat to sea turtles from hook and line fisheries. Fisherman are encouraged – at the moment an accidental interaction occurs – to please help remove and limit the amount of line left on reefs or left trailing an animal after being cut loose




So, congratulations, Ron and Michael Jones, for being the heroes of the day and the heroes of my heart. You get the Good Doo-bee Award and I am sure, the gratitude of a happy and healthy honu out there in our bay.