What started off as a 3 week holiday in Watamu has turned into a magical 5 month experience with the Local Ocean Conservation team. No one could have predicted the effect that Covid19 would have on the world and the massive shut down it would have on travel.
While ‘stuck’ here during lockdown, I have been blessed to see baby turtles hatch, mother turtles lay eggs and have even been privileged enough to aid in the successful release of a turtle clinic patient from LOC back into the ocean. But one of the most touching encounters was with a young boy from the Watamu village. He had found a baby Olive Ridley hatchling battling to make its way out to the ocean. Heavy storms and rough conditions were making it’s fight for survival even harder than usual. Luckily for this turtle, he had a passionate young Eco Warrior come to its rescue.
He was so concerned for the turtle’s welfare that he did not want it kept at his home. They had a dog and he wanted to make sure that not only was his turtle friend safe, but also not subjected to any more environmental stress. His uncle was tasked with the very important duty of keeping the baby hatchling safe at his house until the Bycatch & Release Team from Local Ocean Conservation arrived.
When we arrived, the young boy showed us the location of the turtle hatchling. I could feel he was sizing us up to see if we were up to the task of helping his turtle buddy. On handing over his turtle friend, this young eco warrior made me promise to keep the turtle safe and make sure it got released back into the ocean. It touched my heart how important the future of this creature’s welfare was to him. What fulfilment to spend these 5 months being part of the wonderful work LOC does, and to meet one of Watamu’s young passionate conservationists.
It can be easy to feel like one person cannot make a difference when it comes to saving our oceans, but no deed is too small. To quote Ryunosuke Satoro,
‘Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.’