Hi guys! My name is Juliet and I’m the current intern here in Kuda Huraa.
I am 23 years old and I’m from Connecticut, United States. I graduated with my Marine Biology degree from Florida Institute of Technology in May 2017, and I’ve been traveling the world completing different internships since then. I’ve always wanted to visit the Maldives, but I never thought I’d have the opportunity to work here! Being an intern here at Marine Savers has been a dream come true, and I can’t believe I’ve already completed my first month … time has really flown by!
Most of my mornings consist of helping the marine biologists feed and care for the 35+ Green, Hawksbill, and Olive Ridley sea turtle patients we have here at the Marine Discovery Centre. I had never seen an Olive Ridley before I came here, and now I can officially say I’ve worked with 6 of the 7 sea turtle species! I also record the feeds, net the pools, and help the assistant marine biologist with the turtle’s treatments. Learning more about the medical side of taking care of turtles has been really eye-opening and I’m excited to learn more about it.
During my first week, I went on a trip to the airport with Tori to pick up 5 green hatchlings that were found at W Resort. Making sure these injured or weak sea turtles made it safely to our Centre was a really cool experience, and I’m so glad we have the opportunity to help them. About a week ago I also helped bring Frisbee and Albert, two adult Olive Ridley turtles, to the airport, where they were transferred to Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru. Learning the logistics of the ‘turtle transfer’ process has been really interesting, and I hope I get to help with more over my next couple of months here.
We’ve had several new arrivals to our Centre since I’ve been here, and being able to help care for these injured or sick turtles has been such a rewarding experience. Two of our new arrivals have been a Hawksbill from Como Cocoa Resort and an Olive Ridley from One and Only resort, who both have some buoyancy issues. Another one of our new arrivals was a small Olive Ridley found by some guests within our reef, entangled in a ghost fishing net. Luckily it looks like he will make a full recovery, but unfortunately many turtles around here don’t have the same fate, and several of our patients are missing flippers due to fishing net entanglement.
A couple of days ago, we had a huge Olive Ridley turtle join us, and unfortunately one of her flippers was recently amputated, probably due to a ghost fishing net. It’s heart-breaking to see first-hand how much of an impact our trash has on these beautiful animals, and I’m very glad I have the opportunity to help them.
I have witnessed several sea turtle releases since I’ve been here, which was very special. Snoopy was an Olive Ridley turtle that came to our Centre in February after being entangled in a fishing net, and unfortunately his left front flipper had to be amputated. Luckily, he recovered and was able to be released; watching him strongly swim away, even with only one flipper, was awesome!
I’ve also started leading guest presentations and dolphin cruises, which has been amazing. On my fifth or sixth dolphin cruise, we ended up seeing a pod of around 50 Short-fin pilot whales, which was an incredible sight. Seeing them around the island, especially swimming so close to the boat, was such a rare experience and I’m so lucky I was able to witness it. And being able to watch the beautiful sunsets here, while cruising next to 100+ spinner dolphins a few evenings a week is unreal … definitely one of my favourite parts of the job!
Recently, I have been helping the marine biologists lead some snorkel trips, which I’ve loved. My favourite experiences so far have been the Shark Safari, Turtle Safari, and Night Snorkel. The marine life here is like nowhere else I’ve ever been, and being able to see so many species on the reefs has been unreal. I have also helped build a couple of coral frames at Café Huraa and with Kids’ Club since I’ve arrived, which was very enjoyable and rewarding. I’m excited to do more work with the coral biologists over the next couple of months.
Until next month!