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Ocean Plastics Meet Turtle, Again

On a recent relaxing, sunny sail along the coast of Mexico, a tragedy was averted when Mike Casey and the crew aboard the Perry 56 Foxfire spotted plastics in the ocean, which, upon further inspection, again showed a turtle completely tangled in fishing line and plastic containers. The crew circled closer and, seeing the turtle in distress, quickly doused sails and closed in to grab the ensnared turtle. Sadly, it’s not uncommon for sealife to face this scourge.

Turtle tangled at sea
The crew of Foxfire drew close to discover a turtle tangled in the plastic.
© 2023 Wendy Wendy
After hauling the turtle aboard the stern scoop they removed the plastics.
© 2023 Wendy Wendy
Exhausted Turtle
The exhausted turtle just lay still as the plastic was removed.
© 2023 Wendy Wendy

At the time, Foxfire was on a reach off Punta Farallon between Chamela and Tenacatita. As Mike said, it was a lot easier to manage with Foxfire‘s “sugar scoop” transom.

They’re not the first cruisers to join the “cruisers hall of fame” for both saving wildlife and removing plastics from the ocean, but they’ve joined many who continue to make these contributions to ocean health.

Turtle freedom
Finally untangled, the turtle swam away to freedom. Hopefully, it’s not temporary.
© 2023 Wendy Wendy

Those of us who have done MOB (Man Overboard) drills know how quickly it gets very difficult to see a head or anything bobbing in the water in the vastness of the oceans. Given the scale of the sea it’s easy to imagine many scenes like this that never serendipitously cross the path of a helpful cruiser.

It’s a small fraction of the plastic in the sea, but one turtle is saved and the plastic is removed from the ocean.
© 2023 Wendy Wendy

This type of rescue reminds us of the story of the dad and daughter walking down the beach at low tide with the daughter picking up starfish and throwing them back into deeper water. The father finally says, “Honey, it doesn’t matter; you’re never going to save all these starfish.” The daughter replies, “It matters to that one.”

Mary Crowley’s Ocean Voyages Institute in Sausalito has been working for years to reduce the amount of plastics in the oceans, and she recently won the Diana Russell Award from the Cruising Club of America for her efforts. Additionally, The Ocean Cleanup Project is also busy working to rid the oceans of plastic. However, we all know it’s best not to buy plastic and let it get to the oceans in the first place.

Our current, February issue includes a story of Mike and crew Aidan O’Sullivan and Don Winglewich aboard Foxfire on their “Mas Despacio” sail down the coast of Baja in November.


1 Comment

  1. Rich Brazil 1 year ago

    Great job Foxfire! Good on you. I’m sure it was quite an adventurous undertaking.

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