Location: Anegada

As the Benadryl was still paralyzing my biological system, I woke up in the jacuzzi in the middle of the night and moved to sleep on the kitchen floor then woke up again in the morning but passed out in my cabin until everyone was already in the cockpit for breakfast.

Although I was the skipper of the day, I never got to drive the boat because we stayed anchored in Anegada the whole day to go tag sea turtles. I couldn’t jump in the water to catch turtles either because of my allergy, but I did go out with a group of three on a skiff (flatboat) because how could I ever miss out on one of the most crucial and intriguing activities in the program?

We were on the clearest and bluest water of Anegada for so long. What was supposed to be a turtling session almost turned into a boat ride. For almost two hours, there was not a single sight of a turtle, just two stingrays, and dark rocks. As we were just one minute away from giving up (I almost fell asleep), JB (a counselor on Ewak) spotted a fast shadow jetting through the water. We were all super excited and stood up on the skiff to make sure it is not just another stingray, and to my surprise, it was a turtle! I didn’t expect turtles to be able to swim that fast. We lost sight of it three times, even when we were on a skiff chasing after it until it was tired. We caught it after three tries, and we felt super accomplished. We named it Asiago, like the Italian bagel.

It was hard on my conscience to watch the turtles struggle in our hands as we measure and tag them. However, we just had to keep in mind that we were doing this to help monitor and protect them. Finally, we set them all free. Many turtles didn’t move their fins as we first let them in the sea as if they needed time to process the fact that they had their freedom back. Watching them swim away so energetically afterward, I felt such strong waves of happiness surging from within, then all the hunger and exhaustion was all worth it.

We even grabbed some really sweet shore time before shower and dinner; at last, we were as happy as the Tortugas.