turtle-planet-solarIn a sobering reminder of humans’ contrasting capacities to both preserve and destroy the environment, PlanetSolar, a giant solar-powered boat making an historic around-the-world journey on solar power only, recently pushed into a giant island of floating trash about 100 miles off the coast of Panama and, in a poignant moment, managed to pluck a trapped sea turtle from the trash.

The crew spotted the turtle struggling in the trash flotilla and decided to rescue the turtle, which was not only caught in the waste but was also apparently being hungrily eyed by a giant mackerel.

According to the crew, which posts blog entries regularly to http://www.planetsolar.org/index.en.php, “The turtle probably had been caught on a buoy for quite a long time, unable to dive. It seemed very exhausted.”

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The PlanetSolar team undertook a dive and rescue operation and managed to cut the rope that surrounded one of the turtle’s fins.

As the crew describes it, after being freed, “The turtle held her head out of the water to watch and follow us for a few moments, incredible moments. Then the turtle decided to dive and disappeared into the endless blue of the ocean.”

After saving the turtle in a small but also significant action that reminds us that we continue to pollute our earth even as we find ways to do better than we have before, for example, by building air-pollution-free boats, PlanetSolar continued on its solar-powered journey. Next stop: the Galapagos Islands.

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