May 31st.

One of those days you just never forget. We headed out from Tropea as the sun was rising to a bay that was sun drenched and calm and almost as flat as a lake. We had to motor for several hours until hopefully, the predicted winds picked up and we could sail for awhile.

The hours pass with amazing ease as we stare out at the bright blue yonder, bordered with infinite blue on one side, and stark rising mountains and hills on the other that are ringed with white clouds. It is approximately 80 miles to Maratea.

Just over half the way there, Luka and John spot a loggerhead turtle in the water. We get close to see it and realize that it is not swimming correctly and appears injured. It is quite large. We decide to see if we can get it on board and get it to a marine rescue service. Several attempts later, John finally is able to grab a flipper and hold on and manhandle him onto the boat, formidable beak snapping and flippers flapping.

We put our temporary pet in a safe alcove and we cover it with wet towels. John creates a tent for shade and we make contact with the marine sea rescue. We tried the radio without luck, so Luka called his mother, who in turn got hold of the Croatian Marine rescue who then contacted their Italian counterparts. Luckily, Andrea could speak some Italian, and we were able to co-ordinate with them meeting us in Maratea to pick up “Sweetie”, the name we have given this rather charming turtle that was now sleeping peacefully in its little haven.

So peacefully, we had to poke it occasionally to make sure it was alive. It would raise its head from time to time and blink at us when we poured cool sea water over it.

When we got to Maratea, a couple of guys came on board to take Sweetie, but were intimidated by her. John got impatient with them, and he went in and scooped her up and carried her off the boat. They reckon she was still young – she was almost 3 feet long, (80cm) to be exact, and weighed quite a bit. Average length is about 90cm. Loggerheads are endangered and there are not many of them in this area. The marine rescue service was very grateful that we brought Sweetie in. We will be checking up on her in a few days when we go to the Naples area.

John was the hero of the day! Without his strength, I doubt we would have been able to get Sweetie on board.
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Luka teaching Andrea to sail
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Breakfast on the way
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Sweetie swimming with injured flipper
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Sweetie resting
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Where we found Sweetie
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80cm long
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Handing Sweetie over
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Made it to Maratea