Thursday, July 22, 2010

Wetsuits Surf Manager Matt Walls Spots Sea Turtles in Hermosa

I usually don’t send out recap emails from training paddles but today was a day I will never forget. With today being my last paddle before I take off for Molokai , I was asking myself, is this a good idea? In my mind I start thinking about all of the “what if’s”. What if I pull something in my shoulder? What if something bad happens and it ruins my trip? Is eight miles too far to go four days before a 32 mile race? Stupid thoughts like that filled my head as I walked my dog in the early morning darkness.

As Weems arrived in my back yard and we started talking the “what if” thoughts in my head subsided. We got ready and headed out to the beach like normal. At the beach we met up with the normal crew and headed out into the water and headed down to the break wall. We got to the break wall and headed out to the fourth pylon buoy where we all sat up and rested while we all regrouped.

About 1 minute into our paddle to the Manhattan Pier I hear Bill shout “that is the biggest jelly fish I have even seen’ then instantaneously Dan Flynn says “that is no jelly fish that is a SEA TURTLE”. As soon as I heard sea turtle I stopped in my tracks and flipped around and there it was. Right before all of our eyes, a living, breathing sea turtle in the waters off of Hermosa Beach . Its shell was about 2-3 feet long and about 1-1.5 feet wide and it had barnacles growing on it back. It just chilled near the surface and came up for a small breath of air every once in a while. Of course none of us had a camera to document our sighting but it was for sure something I will never forget. We all just stared at it in disbelief. I remember my grandfather telling me that there use to be sea turtles out here but I thought those days were long gone. I all the years I have been surfing, paddling, diving in the south bay I never thought I would see the day that I would see a sea turtle. That just made my year.

As we left the turtle to continue his slow voyage off to where ever he was going, we were escorted away by about 40 little common dolphins that were swimming along underneath us and then popping up just in front of our boards. They stayed with us for a long time.

Today was a true nature paddle, we even had some seals swim up and give us a look. I could not have asked for a better send off paddle than to be out doing what I love with all my friends and have this amazing run in with an animal that I had given up hope of ever seeing in the waters off of my home.

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