Today was my fourth, and last, release of the trip. A very bittersweet occasion. We went on the Orsa Maggiore with Daniela's middle school science class, several members of the press, the crew and captain of the boat, and of course us! It was a beautiful day for sailing (actually very rare...and I still got seasick). The release was supposed to be educational for the middle schoolers, and it certainly was. The Navy crew members taught about sailing, wind, navigation and their experiences while Daniela explained the idea of conservation.
I hugely enjoyed today and felt it was a great way to end my internship at the Lampedusa Turtle Group! Everyone was enthusiastic and seeing a turtle that has recovered getting to swim free is always liberating and exciting. Afterwards, everyone came for a tour of the rescue center. I feel like turtles are not very cuddly animals, but every time people see them up close they nearly swoon.
Ame, Ale, Giulia and Daniela on the Orsa Maggiore
Ciao tartaruga on the coast guard boat for the release!
Daniela's class, the sailboat crew and captain, the mayor of Lampedusa and some of the Lampedusa Turtle Group volunteers at port!
As I look back at the experiences I've had here, today was a good summary of the trip in general. There was emphasis on education, hope for cooperation between different entities all responsible for conservation in one way or another (teachers, youth, military, government, environmentalists, and more!). It was beautiful to see many different types of people come together!