ARCHELON’s Lakonikos bay project has a big heart!
Visitors of the Rescue Centre in Glyfada hear many lovely stories about the rescue of sea turtles they meet there. One of the best stories this summer is that of our turtle “Aaron”, which links beautifully the work done on the nesting beaches every summer to the Rescue Centre work.
It was the 29th of July and the public awareness team of Lakonikos bay project had set up an info table in Limeni during the “Ocean Man” sport event. One of the swimmers there approached the volunteers and reported the sighting of an injured sea turtle in the area. ‘We need to check this out”, thought Galini Samlidou, ARCHELON’s project officer for south Peloponnese, and swam in the area of Limeni looking for the turtle, with no result.
A report of a second sighting early in August, led to a second search by a couple of volunteers from the Lakonikos bay project, with no result. This second report added the info that the turtle looked seriously entangled in some kind of net or rope. Galini talked with the local businesses asking them to call her in case of any further sightings. Indeed, on the morning of August 19th a third sighting was reported and Galini, together with Julien Clouzet, our volunteer from Lakonikos bay and Nathan Gibrat, the ARCHELON leader for Evrotas, located the turtle in Itylo bay!
What a rescue! Julien stayed and swam with the injured turtle for 2 hours, while the others went ashore, reported to the local Coast Guard unit and looked around to find a boat. A small inflatable boat was made available by “Mani Water Sports”, and with the help of Michalis Ladas and Dimitris Lentzakos, both friends of the owner, the operation was set up. “They had to wait for the turtle to come to the water surface to breath, because it was resting in such a depth that was impossibly to catch it by diving” says Galini, who was coordinating the rescue.
By 1:30 pm the rescue operation was over and ‘Aaron” was brought out of the sea. One of his flippers was entangled by rope, made atrophic and eventually it was broken off. “The flipper was lost and there was so much bleeding”, says Galini, “that we felt we needed to bring him to the Rescue Centre immediately. The instructions from the Rescue Center reinforced this option, so Julien and I drove off with it. We arrived in Glyfada around 6 pm.”
Good decision! Waiting at the Rescue Centre were Irini Kassimati, the rescue and rehabilitation officer, Michael Moraitis, the most dedicated volunteer, together with Dr Mariana Fragoso, vet/ volunteer/ friend of the Centre, who managed to control the bleeding.
“I am happy to report that Aaron is now recovering very well under our care” says Michael. “This turtle was lucky, the Lakonikos project has such a big heart! The whole team worked miracles to rescue him and I am happy to observe that Julien has honored the great tradition of French volunteers in ARCHELON”, he added teasingly.
This is where the story ends for now! A big thank you to everyone mentioned here.