Since 1994, Laguna Phuket has supported the sea conservation programs in Phuket. They do that by raising funds and awareness in support of the Phuket Marine Biological Centre (PMBC). One way they do this is by having people join the turtle release program. For me this was the second time to release a turtle with Laguna (last year I released a turtle with my mom and Vanessa), but this year it was a little different. Not just because Ruben joined me, but because the entire set up was different to the one in 2015.
In 2015, the release was held at Laguna itself. A speech was held about the turtles and the conservation methods in Phuket and an explanation was given about how to handle the turtles once it was time to release them. After that it was waiting for the time you could release your turtle. A little boat brought you to the beach, and off the turtle went.
This year the event was held at PMBC itself, and being here obviously gives you the chance to get to know the Foundation better. And Laguna sure made good use of this. After a speech about the organization and an explanation (both in Thai and English) about the turtles, we were shown around several stations.
Our first stop was in the nursery – turtles of one year and younger were swimming around in their ponds. Showing off their skills and popping their head above water to see who was watching them.
Our second stop was an exhibition about jelly fish – a full explanation about what kind of jelly fish were living in the Andaman Sea and what this nasty little buggers could do to you. I have to tell you it ain’t pretty!
After wards, we slowly descended to the rescue ponds. Here different turtles were living that were rescued from sea. Some missing a limb, others unable to go under water anymore. These poor fellas are unable to be released back into the wild, but will be well taken care of by the people of the PMBC.
All in all, all the explanations and tours around the facility – even though very interesting – were taking a long time. And in the Phuket heat, we’re having at the moment, it was taking its toll. We really wanted to meet our little friend and see him (or her) head off into the sea. Luckily they were getting the turtles ready to be released.
We headed off to the beach and Ruben was brave enough to hold the turtle. Soon we walked off to the edge of the water and put the little guy on the sand. He was kind of hesitant to get away from us but tried to walk into the water after a little while. Apparently the sand was a little too soft for him, so we had to give him a little help, but once he hit the water he was off. Our little guy swam to freedom and loved it!
Even though it was my second release, I loved it as much as the first time. It was really cool to see this little dude take off, and I really hope he will have a long and healthy live ahead!
Thanks, Laguna and PMBC for this lovely afternoon! One we won’t forget in a long long time!
PS. Most of the pictures of the release were taken by the talented Jerlin Balais – check out more of her photos here http://www.angeljerlin.com/