BLUE CRUSH

Fairlady - - FLY FINDS - – Liza

I love to scuba-dive, and I’ve swum among log­ger­head and leatherback tur­tles along our coast­line. I thought that was pretty awe­some – un­til I dis­cov­ered the Ocean Ex­pe­ri­ence at the Two Oceans Aquar­ium in Cape Town. The aquar­ium res­cues and re­ha­bil­i­tates stranded and dis­tressed sea tur­tles be­fore re­leas­ing them along the West­ern Cape coast. And while they’re re­cu­per­at­ing at Two Oceans, vis­i­tors can en­gage with them.

I in­ter­acted mainly with Bob, named thus af­ter he was found ‘bob­bing’ in the sea – he had so much plas­tic in his stom­ach that he couldn’t dive to find food and al­most died.

‘The value of these ex­pe­ri­ences is that peo­ple re­ally get to in­ter­act with an an­i­mal that has an in­cred­i­ble story; it’s very pow­er­ful in its con­ser­va­tion mes­sage,’ says Talitha Noble, con­ser­va­tion co-or­di­na­tor at the aquar­ium. ‘That’s how you in­spire change: give peo­ple an op­por­tu­nity to fall in love – then they’ll pro­tect what they love.’

The ex­pe­ri­ence takes place in a shal­low-wa­ter area and an in-house ex­pert tells you all about the tur­tles. As no scuba qual­i­fi­ca­tion is re­quired, kids as young as eight can en­joy this friendly and in­for­ma­tive in­ter­ac­tion. It costs R530 per adult and R455 per child be­tween eight and 17; R100 of the fee goes to­wards the aquar­ium’s con­ser­va­tion fund.

When you see these tur­tles thriv­ing af­ter com­ing so close to dy­ing, you realise you’re in the pres­ence of some of the most re­silient and in­cred­i­ble crea­tures on Earth.

Go to www.aquar­ium.co.za/con­tent/page/ocean-ex­pe­ri­ences for more info.

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