Our Ocean’s Silent Inhabitants

Blythe - cincinnati, Ohio
Entered on February 10, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: nature

I believe in protecting the oceans. These seemingly endless bodies of water have always fascinated me. When I was young, my family would take vacations to the lovely beaches of Sanibel Island. My sister would be content building a sandcastle and watching the waves from the shore, not me. I was the adventurous child who was always pushing to swim farther off the shore, disregarding my mother’s warnings to stay behind the first sandbar, and instead pushing out to the second and beyond. I was always looking for fish, crabs, jellyfish, turtles-anything I could find. Eventually, exhausted from the waves, I’d return to the sand. One day as I was watching the birds run around, I noticed these strange blocked-off triangles in front of the dunes. They were surrounded by yellow caution tape, respectfully minded by the locals and visitors. I would later learn they were turtle nests. I was immediately fascinated by these nests. Hidden underground, at first glance they looked like nothing. But they were so much more.

And so began my fascination with sea turtles. I became obsessed with those nests, and would spend days watching them, reading books about turtles, or learning about ways to protect them. I would run around every night in our beach house and turn off all the lights so that the hatching turtles wouldn’t confuse the lights with the moon, which is their guide into the water after they hatch. After reading about turtles getting their necks caught in plastic soda can holders I diligently cut all the holes where the cans once were so that there were just strips of plastic, which I then threw away. After our vacation, the minute we arrived back in Cincinnati, I ran around our house turning off the lights, cutting up soda can holders. I was doing all I could to protect the vast ecosystem of turtles living in the Ohio River, the at-risk population that lived at the Beach Water Park.

As a child, I was uneducated about the science of sea turtles, but that didn’t matter. I wanted to help them as much as I could. I believed in helping the sea turtles, and I cared deeply about the ocean. I still do, regardless of whether I’m in Ohio or Florida. I believe in protecting the ocean.

I started scuba diving when I was eleven and have gone on trips every summer since then. I’ve been diving in the Caribbean, in the Florida Keys, in the Bahamas, and I’ve loved every minute of it. I’ve seen sharks, eels, all kinds of fish, and vast expanses of coral. Unfortunately I’ve never seen sea turtles. They are currently endangered. Their food sources are dying off. Their habitats are quickly being depleted. The work I started as a child has so much left undone. This it what fuels me to work to fix the ocean that my friends the sea turtles live in. I believe that one day I will see one- maybe one hatched from one of the nests I watched as a child.

I believe in protecting the oceans. These seemingly endless bodies of water have always fascinated me. When I was young, my family would take vacations to the lovely beaches of Sanibel Island. My sister would be content building a sandcastle and watching the waves from the shore, not me. I was the adventurous child who was always pushing to swim farther off the shore, disregarding my mother’s warnings to stay behind the first sandbar, and instead pushing out to the second and beyond. I was always looking for fish, crabs, jellyfish, turtles-anything I could find. Eventually, exhausted from the waves, I’d return to the sand. One day as I was watching the birds run around, I noticed these strange blocked-off triangles in front of the dunes. They were surrounded by yellow caution tape, respectfully minded by the locals and visitors. I would later learn they were turtle nests. I was immediately fascinated by these nests. Hidden underground, at first glance they looked like nothing. But they were so much more.

And so began my fascination with sea turtles. I became obsessed with those nests, and would spend days watching them, reading books about turtles, or learning about ways to protect them. I would run around every night in our beach house and turn off all the lights so that the hatching turtles wouldn’t confuse the lights with the moon, which is their guide into the water after they hatch. After reading about turtles getting their necks caught in plastic soda can holders I diligently cut all the holes where the cans once were so that there were just strips of plastic, which I then threw away. After our vacation, the minute we arrived back in Cincinnati, I ran around our house turning off the lights, cutting up soda can holders. I was doing all I could to protect the vast ecosystem of turtles living in the Ohio River, the at-risk population that lived at the Beach Water Park.

As a child, I was uneducated about the science of sea turtles, but that didn’t matter. I wanted to help them as much as I could. I believed in helping the sea turtles, and I cared deeply about the ocean. I still do, regardless of whether I’m in Ohio or Florida. I believe in protecting the ocean.

I started scuba diving when I was eleven and have gone on trips every summer since then. I’ve been diving in the Caribbean, in the Florida Keys, in the Bahamas, and I’ve loved every minute of it. I’ve seen sharks, eels, all kinds of fish, and vast expanses of coral. Unfortunately I’ve never seen sea turtles. They are currently endangered. Their food sources are dying off. Their habitats are quickly being depleted. The work I started as a child has so much left undone. This it what fuels me to work to fix the ocean that my friends the sea turtles live in. I believe that one day I will see one- maybe one hatched from one of the nests I watched as a child.