The mystery of Ibiza’s Playa D’en Bossa turtle

February 18th, 2013 - 8:04 pm Posted in ibiza | Comments (0)

It was Valentine’s Day, but that was inconsequential as I walked up Playa D’en Bossa beach, my usual route to the supermarket. As is also usual, I sat on the wall leading to the boat jetty at the end of the beach in the sun for a few minutes. I was slightly bemused by the number of people that were around there, but thought nothing of it (it’s really quiet on the beach at this time of year, apart from the small number of people walking, jogging or cycling, and there are no boats regularly using the pier). It was only when I continued my journey that I saw that the assembled small crowd was looking at a large turtle (maybe a Loggerhead turtle) at the edge of the water on the sand. I was initially excited, not expecting to see turtles in Ibiza.

I stood there looking at it for a few minutes, and took a photo with my phone (as you do), not sure if it was dead or alive (it wasn’t moving and my limited knowledge of Spanish told me that people were discussing if it was dead or not). Then I went and sat on the wall nearby, whilst I posted on Twitter and Facebook about my sighting (as you do). It was only once I started getting replies from friends in Ibiza who had lived here for longer than I had, that I realised that this wasn’t an everyday occurrence. So I went back to take another look. There was an officious looking man with a clipboard looking at the turtle and making notes, and by now three policemen (with motorbikes) as well as the small crowd of people.

Taking a closer look, I realised that it had a badly injured back flipper, and this probably accounted for the fact that it was on the sand, most likely washed up (we’d had a lot of wind and rough seas in previous days). Being a bit squeamish, I decided not to hang around and see what happened next, continuing my journey to the supermarket, all the time wondering how they were going to move it from its resting place (a couple of feet below the walkway next to the jetty) and whether or not it was alive and going to survive. Of course, on my return about 45 minutes later, it was gone, as had the assembled crowd.

Still curious, I assumed that there would be a piece about it on the website of one the local papers or news sites, as it’s relatively quiet on the island at the moment, and I thought that it was a newsworthy event.

The next day I started looking around on the Internet and on Twitter to try and find a story about it. My searches were fruitless, but I did find out that Loggerhead turtles do indeed live in the Mediterranean, spending most of their lives in the sea, apart from the females, which come ashore to lay their eggs. They are considered to be an endangered species, and incredibly live for 47-67 years. I also discovered that there could in fact be a happy ending.

Only last week in Japan, an injured Loggerhead turtle was given prosthetic flippers and was able to swim again. Whilst this may not have been possible for the Playa D’en Bossa turtle, it is a heartwarming story to accompany my somewhat sad and mysterious tale. I do hope there’s a happy ending, but I fear that I will never know! And I’m still bemused about the lack of a news story about it. It’s a good job I took the photo, otherwise it could be construed as a figment of my imagination!

Words and photo by ClaireB

Link about Yu Chan, the lucky turtle in Japan:

www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/12/turtle-prosthetic-flippers-yu-chan_n_2670244.html#slide=2097097?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000003

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