Friday, August 4, 2017

Saving Lola!

Julie Goth pouring water on stuck mama turtle.   
“Hey Lawrie! There’s a sea turtle stuck between two rocks! Can you help me get her free?”

Rob Goth, our neighbour a few houses to the north of us, stood in our courtyard shouting towards our upper deck. 

It was early in the morning and we still had our bedroom door closed with the a/c running. We hadn’t heard him shout, but the dogs Sparky and Max had. They woofed, and Lawrie opened the door to investigate. 


Julie, Lawrie, and Rob - how are we going to do this?
Then Lawrie yelled an explanation to me and took off, leaving me to scramble out of the shower, toss on clothes, and dash after him with my camera in hand.

When I arrived on the beach side of Rob and Julie’s house, appropriately named Casa de Tortuga, Julie was gently pouring water over the turtle’s head and Rob and Lawrie were discussing ideas to free her. 

The temperature was already a sweltering 30C but felt like 36C due to the high humidity, that’s 86 and 97 in the American temperature scale. 

Rob Goth, sun umbrella for turtle
The turtles can survive on land for short periods to lay their eggs, but the ladies always arrive after dark and usually leave by sunrise.

This poor mama was hot, and getting hotter.
She was tightly jammed in a crevice between a ledge and an enormous chunk of rock. 

Fortunately she was in the upright position, not standing on her head. 

Lawrie suggested lifting her out by her flippers. I said no, that might injure the muscles in her shoulders and then she wouldn’t be able to swim. (What do I know?)

Rob went back their house for small, red and white beach umbrella and a bigger bucket to pour water more over her. 

Rob Goth, hat for him, bigger umbrella for turtle
I zipped up to the street, looking for a local who might know the number for the Tortugranja, the Turtle Farm. 

Tony Gutierrez was passing by, I asked him if he knew anyone at the Turtle Farm, He said yes, and offered to drive over to tell them we needed help.

Other neighbours, Cesar Sepúlveda and Sylvia Leal supplied a bigger beach umbrella, and another bucket. Their daughter Fanny pitched in with filling buckets of water and passing them to Rob. 

Visitors from Kansas City, who were staying at Vidrio del Mar, the Sea Glass house next to Rob and Julie's helped wherever they could. As did a guest from nearby Punta Piedra.


Fanny lugging water. Guest from 'Sea Glass House" helping
Cesar hopped into the family golf cart and drove to the Turtle Farm looking for help, not realizing I had already spoken to Tony Gutierrez.

More people arrived, everyone curious and trying to be helpful. Some of the new arrivals took turns pouring the water over her head and body, hoping to prevent heat exhaustion. 

Lawrie and I both grabbed large coils of rope from our house. 



More helpers arriving
Cesar and Sylvia contributed flat tie-down straps used for holding cargo in place.

It seemed like forever, but in reality it was probably about thirty minutes before the turtle farm employees arrived. 

They decided to lift her out by her flippers …. as I said, what do I know? (Yes, honey, you were right.)

The guys used the tie-down straps instead of the rope because the thin straps were easier to maneuver between the turtle’s body and her flippers. 

Success! She's moving.
Then Luis, Amado and Emir lifted her, one on each side and one grabbing her shell behind her neck. The first attempt didn’t work, Amado asked for a hammer and chisel, thinking to chip away a bit of the rock. 

Rob reached in and suggested they give it one more try, poof – she was out.

Cheers erupted, everyone grinning like little kids at the circus. 

Turtle guys and helpful visitors - hold her for a minute

The mama started off but she was dragging a strap still attached to her front flipper. 

Three guys struggled to hold her back while another (Luis maybe?) undid the strap. And then she was off.

Amado escorted her to the water’s edge, waving her a farewell.

Everyone happy and turtle headed back to ocean
It was heartwarming to see so many people from Canada, the USA, and Mexico come together to help this one creature. 

The next day was Rob Goth's birthday and as he said, "This was the best gift I could have dreamed of."

A really big thank you to the Tortugranja employees from all of us.



As we headed home, carrying two really heavy coils of rope, I turned to Julie Goth and Sylvia Leal, “Hey, what’s her name?” I asked, pointing at the retreating turtle.

Amado escorting 'Lola" back to her home.
“Lola!” They yelled back.

From all of us, happy travels Lola, and for heaven’s sake, watch where you are going!

Hasta luego,

Lynda & Lawrie


The numbers for turtle emergencies: 

998-134-0712   Kai Creamer

A further update, today Aug 5th Capt. Tony Garcia found another mama turtle stuck near Casa Coral. 

He was able to rescue her as well. Might be an idea for home owners on the Caribbean side of the island to do a morning check for trapped mama turtles.  Better than letting them bake to death in the sunshine. 






Have you got yours yet?
Treasure Isla is a humorous Caribbean adventure set on Isla Mujeres, a tiny island off the eastern coast of Mexico. Two twenty-something women find themselves in possession of a seemingly authentic treasure map, which leads them on a chaotic search for buried treasure while navigating the dangers of too much tequila, disreputable men, and a killer. And there is a dog, a lovable rescue-mutt. 



The cover of Treasure Isla has a new look courtesy of one of my favourite mystery writers Carmen Amato. She is the creator of the popular Emilia Cruz Detective series set in Acapulco. 

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