Here's something that you may not know about me. I love turtles! Not the sort of rave-about- wherever-you-go kind of love, but one of those deep, quiet admiring kind of loves. There's just something so cool about the little fellas. I have secretly toyed with the idea of buying a turtle "for the kids" but have so far managed to deny "them" of this. Anyway, I'll stop raving about me and get on with the story.
It had rained a lot during the week and we were all on the verge of a bit of cabin fever. It was a quiet Sunday afternoon, a bit windy but the sun was out, so we decided to go to the beach for a swim. (Did I mention that this is really quite a simple thing to do these days now that we live four minutes from the beach. I know, it's tough but someone has to do it!!) The water was fairly choppy and we had a great time mucking about in the waves. After a while, Ellie said "Mum, what is that lady looking at?''
It seemed that this particular lady in question was walking very slowly along the water's edge looking intently into the shallow water. Ever needing to know what is going on around me, (waddaya mean nosy?) we decided to investigate. Much to my delight, it was a turtle! The lady said she had been watching this turtle struggle in the water for quite sometime, "he's been trying to get out into deeper water but the waves keep on pushing him back in again".
Well, this turtle was gorgeous people!!! He was probably about the size of a big dinner plate and had the most gorgeous little face. I just wanted to dunk him in my coffee!!!! (Nev thinks my affinity with turtles has something to do with my age and their crusty shell - no, he is not funny!). Anyway, I really, really, really wanted to save this turtle! It was like something I just HAD to do! Being very brave, I kind of snuck up behind him and grabbed the edge of his shell in front of his back legs. He was amazingly heavy but in some kind of way, quite delicate as well. His little head immediately popped into his shell but given a few seconds he slowly eased back out again. I was in love!
After thoroughly investigating the little guy from his little feet and claws (which were quite cheerily scratching away at my arm and hands) right up to his adorable little eyes, I decided to do for him what he hadn't been able to achieve himself. I took him out into the deep water and let him go. He struggled with the swell a little bit and dived down into the murky, water out of the waves. I watched him go thinking all the while "how cute is he, look at him go, I am SUCH a wildlife warrior etc etc."
When I turned around to go back to shore, the entire Hervey Bay Surf Patrol were on the beach talking to the lady, Nev and the kids. (This was truly my moment!!!) When I staggered out of the waves, glowing with "look what I did" when Nev said, "Honey, I think that may have been a fresh water turtle. He probably got washed down the storm water drain with all the rain".
Yep!! I was no longer a wildlife warrior, I was in fact a wildlife killer. No wonder the little guy was struggling in the water, he was probably choking on all that salt in his eyes, nose etc. (There went my award!) All I could think about was this poor littler turtle all alone out there in this horrible salty water, struggling to blink the water out of his eyes and come up for a breath of fresh air, and "oh my goodness, I've killed him".
I turned around and headed back out to where I had let him go. By this time the Surf Patrol people had got out all their rescue boards and were paddling past me trying to find the turtle. It was quite a while before we saw any sign of him, but he popped out of the water and Nev managed to grab him. One of the surf people got a big container with fresh water in it and popped the turtle into it.
Can you imagine what his relief must have been. He immediately settled onto the bottom and seemingly went to sleep. The surf patrol people said they would take him back up to the botanical gardens and put him in the lake up there, and I was so relieved. I'm pretty sure the turtle did manage to pop his head out one more time to give me a reproachful look.
I felt really, really silly. Nev took one look at my face and said,"well you stuffed that one up eh wildlife girl', and then fell about laughing.
Honestly, some people have no respect!