NERS workshop - Training in the rain!

Hi everyone,

I hope this blog post finds you all well! As mentioned, Adam and I recently attended the Northeast Stranding Network Conference (NERS) in Bar Harbor Maine. In addition to the highly informative lectures, our hosts arranged for two workshops. I'll cover one here and the other in a separate blog.

The first workshop was taught by Brian Sharp from the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies. Brian is also the coordinator for the Massachusetts Sea Turtle Disentanglement Network. Brian and I have worked closely for the past four years on leatherback disentanglement in and around Cape Cod Bay. Sea turtles commonly become entangle in vertical line and their disentanglement is a risky and dangerous business when dealing with a thousand pound animal like a leatherback.

The workshop started inside with an introduction to the tools and ropes needed for this type of work. In the photo below Brian demonstrates techniques to the group. In general, a grapple is thrown into the water to catch the line the animal is entangled in. With the grapple secure the entanglement line can be pulled to the boat.

Next we moved outside for a practical demonstration/training at the hotel pool. It was pouring rain but stranding folks are a hardy bunch - it didn't put a damper on our workshop. It actually made for a more realistic event since rescues never seem to take place in nice weather. For the full feeling of a real disentanglement just add a rocking boat, rough seas and the intense feeling that you are about to see your lunch again!

In the photo below on the left Adam holds a safety line on the wooden floating leatherback while Brian demonstrates the proper way to throw a grapple.

Below, Brian demonstrates the throw and retrieval of the line entangling the animal. The center photo shows the grapple attached to the line. The photo on the right cracks me up; you can see several of the workshop participants lined up with Brian doing the moves...don't they look like an exercise class!

Below is Adam trying his hand at the grapple and reeling in his turtle.

The photos below are of our former teammate Kate. I'm not sure if I mentioned in any of these blogs that Kate recently left the Aquarium to become the Northeast Region Sea Turtle Coordinator - Go Kate! Kate was with us for several years and is still part of our stranding family...as demonstrated by Adam's actions below. While Kate was suiting up Adam dragged the turtle all they way to the other end of the pool for Kate's turn at the grapple. I shot the photo on the left just as she looked up to find the turtle on the far edge of the pool. Center photo shows a power throw, followed by the victory smile. The photos are slightly out of focus because I was laughing so hard!!

This was a great day, the activities really gave those that have never thrown a grapple the opportunity to practice with guidance from an instructor and in a controlled setting. Everyone in attendance had the opportunity to practice. This was a highly effective workshop and as you can see we had a great time too!

- Connie

1 comment:

  1. Looks like very hard work! Thank you for saving such endangered animals. Maybe you would enjoy my little graphic novel, "A Leatherback's Tale." http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/album.php?aid=5585&id=100000971794933