A YOUNG Wimborne woman has recently returned from Athens where she spent ten weeks rescuing sick turtles.
Abi Parsons, who has lived in Wimborne all her life, attended Wimborne First, Allenbourn and Corfe Hills schools before going to Aberystwyth University where she completed a degree in Freshwater and Marine Biology.
"When I arrived at Archelon's Rescue Centre for injured sea turtles there were 21 loggerhead sea turtles with injuries ranging from damage by boat propellers, ingested hooks, entanglement in fishing gear and most shockingly, hammer wounds from disgruntled fishermen," she said.
She soon became involved in the daily routine of cleaning turtle tanks, giving injections, administering drips and medication, and tube feeding those too traumatised to eat properly.
"The afternoons were a time to relax and sit in the sun doing turtle observations on those ready for release," she added. "There was always the possibility of a new turtle coming in and quite often 4am collections from the local ferry terminal in the old turtle car fondly known as the 'Turt-mobile'. In the time I was there we had eight new turtles which was a record for a Greek winter, considering sea turtles should have made their way to Egypt at this time. And what with the trams striking there were no daily volunteers to help out so a lot of extra work was given to the four residential volunteers. But it was good fun and very rewarding when the turtles started to improve."
Abi said those ready for release were tagged and given a final check-up. She participated in two turtle releases by boat, into the Mediterranean.
"The hard work I had put in, finally paid off and the sense of satisfaction was overwhelming. However, for every turtle released there are many that enter the rescue centre and unfortunately do not survive."
She said that one of her greatest pleasures was adapting to a simple lifestyle, where life no longer revolved around technology. She also made some fantastic friends and contacts from people all over the world.
For more information about Archelon see www.archelon.gr/index_eng.php