Even though it's the weekend we had our alarms set this morning to get up just as early as usual. We were going to take part in the celebration of the 'World Environmental Day' at the Jebel Ali Sanctuary with the Emirates Marine Environmental Group (EMEG).
They were going to have a turtle release that I was really curious about, so on with the sunscreen and the hats, and off we went!
The Sanctuary is run by Major Ali, the same man who organized the pearl diving trip we did in May. Protecting endangered wildlife and raising awareness about the environment is something he is really passionate about.
There was drinks and snacks in the majlis, coconut water, mmm.
There had been about 200 participants on last years similar happening, so the organizers were hoping for around 300-350 this year.
They ended up having 600 people register and probably even more turn up!!
Unfortunately, the people in charge of setting up the release spot at the beach, hadn't done it in a very good way, so there wasn't enough space for everybody to get a good look. There was far too many people, and a lot were rather pushy and disregarded the pleads to stay behind the rope, then blocking the view for everybody else.
Time to set off the little turtles!
Apparently the rope was also set up a bit too close to the sea. This meant that the turtles didn't have a long enough stretch of sand to crawl on to reach the sea before they set off, so it was a rather quick event!
This morning they released 25 turtles back into the sea.
These turtles were all yearlings that had been rescued from around the region. When they are that small they sometimes have trouble regulating their own body temperature when the winter hits. So they get help to rehabilitate at the Sanctuary to then be released back when it's summer again. Once they grow bigger and older, they don't seem to experience these issues, and can swim off very far away. The Sanctuary have rescued and released about 1200 turtles since 2009.
Here's a little clip that Emma filmed of some of the releases: