January 27th, 2015
We set off around 9am to walk to the other side of Bequia to The Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary. Fellow cruisers Bruce and Gina joined us. It's 3.8 kilometer each way with some hills. EACH WAY!
We were 2/3 of the way there when Bruce spotted an old guy throwing a casting net in the bay below. We detoured off the road, down through the hillside to watch. The old guy chatted a few mins with us as he prepared for his next throw. He worked his way out into the water and then just waited and watched. After 4 mins or so, he tossed the net. He ended up getting a pretty good haul of small little fish. Bruce was very excited and helped him dump them into an already full bin of fish. Then the old guy said "Ok. That is enough. I have to go. I go to my sanctuary now. I am the turtle guy." Wow! We told him that we were coming to see him. He explained that the fish he caught today would feed the turtles for two days. He fishes each morning like this.
Wait.... you're saying "Turtles eat fish?" I know. We said the same thing. Brother King explained that this species does - Hawksbill. Who knew....but then that is one of the reasons we are out exploring -to learning.
When we arrived at the sanctuary, Brother King was busy filling the various tanks. Each morning they drain and then refill the tanks. We visited with him as he worked, learning more. He is a bit of a cantankerous old guy but his heart is in the right place.
He basically takes the newly hatched turtles and raises them until they are 5-7 years old and then releases them back into the ocean. The chances of a baby turtle making it are very low. This gives them a fighting chance. It is Brother King's passion and lifes work for many years. It's just want he does. The small fee we each paid to enter the turtle sanctuary helps a little.
If you want to read more, you can The Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary.