Thursday, 9 October 2014

Rescuing a turtle in Palmarola - by Luigi Ardire

It's with great pleasure that we publish an article about rescuing a sea turtle in the waters of Palmarola, written by Luigi Ardire. Grazie Luigi!

On September 16th, 2014 we were coming back from Palmarola (off the Island of Ponza) after a wonderful dive at the Cathedral site. I was at the helm of the Nettuno ( Ponza Diving Center's boat) and on board there were our guests and the other members of the staff: Andrea (diving centre manager and Captain of the boat), Daniela and Francesco (Instructors) and Ciprian (Divemaster).

All of a sudden, I spot a familiar shape on the surface, not far away from us, and I recognise her immediatly: a sea turtle!

I decide to get closer in order to show her to our guests, but as soon as we are near Andrea and I understand that there's something wrong. The turtle is trying hard to dive but she just cannot do it. We observe her for a few minutes and despite her numerous tries, she cannot dive!

I ask Andrea to take the helm and I prepare to approach her to check her conditions.


We jump on the rib and we get closer. We keep at a safe distance, in order not to stress her and to make her used to our presence. Once she calms down, we manage to take her on board of the rib.

At a first glance, she doesn't show any sign of trauma. To try and understand what might be wrong, Daniela calls the  Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn in Naples and explains the situations to the Vets. After listening, they suggest a near drowning situation, maybe due to underwater entanglement and they tell us to transfer her to the mainland co that they can cure her.

Once we hang up, we take the turtle on board of the Nettuno and we power back to the port. During the trip, our main concern is to keep her always hydrated with a wet towel on her carapace.

As soon as we get to the port, we meet the Officers from the Coast Guard, who had been previously advised, and we transfer the turtle to their office.

The turtle was transferred to the Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn in Naples that same evening, where the Vets confirm the original diagnosis: near drowning. They also confirm that, without our intervention, the turtle wouldn't have survived for long.

Our little friend is now in good conditions and she will be released in the clear water in Palmarola, once fully rehabilitated.

A big thank you to the Ponza Coast Guard and to the Vets of the Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn in Naples, without whom this rescue wouldn't have been possible.

Luigi Ardire
PADI OWSI #331480