Reeling in an endangered species

During my time in Kerala, India we decided to go fishing.

Kerala is known as the ‘Venice of the East’ and is visually stunning! The southern Indian district boasts beautiful scenery, with Asian farms and scattered village life surrounded by a complex network of rivers.

We stayed at a beautiful heritage resort in the heart of the backwaters and spent our time relaxing, having Indian massages and exploring the backwaters by canoe. It was a perfect.

Keralan backwaters

One afternoon we decided to do a spot of fishing in the river running past our hut. We were given a stick each, with a wire attached to the end and some bate to put on the end- it was fishing in true Indian style!

I had never fished before and was quite excited at the prospect. Being with someone who had fished before, I was determined to catch more and bigger fish than them! So I was quite surprised when in less than 5 minutes I felt something tugging at my rod (or should I say stick)!

Very excited I started pulling it is, ‘it’s something big!’ I shouted. My friend didn’t believe me until I passed the rod to them- then they did!

A minute or so later we pulled the catch out of the water-to find it was a turtle!!!

I didn’t know what to do! I called over someone who worked at the heritage resort for assistance.

He grabbed the turtle and clipped off the hook, leaving part of it still in his mouth. He was really quite rough with it and it wasn’t very nice to watch. He then said it would be fine and walked away. I wasn’t so sure.

The turtle had gone into its shell and was not moving. I was really quite concerned. It was a fair size turtle and I was sure that you weren’t really supposed to go turtle fishing! Although it was obviously unintentional.

A couple of concerned minutes later the turtle pooped its head out of its shell. It looked around for a few seconds, remaining still. It then shot into the river as quick as lightening! It was actually really cute to watch!

What a catch!

A little shaken by the whole experience, I was very glad that the turtle seemed ok and that it was back where it belonged!

Although it’s not ideal to hurt the turtle this way and I’m sure it was very traumatised by the whole experience, it was for me, quite an experience! How often do you get to see a turtle up so close that is completely wild? I’m not sure I will get many more opportunities like this.

Goodbye little turtle, it was nice to meet you, if only for short time!