Not every story about sea life mistakenly caught in a net ends this beautifully, so it's important to recognize when one does.
According to Dominican Republic social news site Lifestyle Cabarete, dive partners Cameron Dietrich and Colin Sutton were out spearfishing for tuna off the coast of Mexico earlier this year when Dietrich noticed something was not quite right. A sea turtle had been caught in a line.
Dietrich immediately jumped in to save the turtle, working quickly to remove the mess of ropes around its left flipper. Sutton followed close behind, his GoPro camera on and ready to capture the rescue.
The turtle swam away once freed, but then, to the two divers' surprise, it circled back to Dietrich. For an incredible, breathtaking moment it rested inches above him in the water, close enough for Dietrich to reach out and hold it. It was almost as if the sea turtle was saying thank you.
The World Wildlife Fund names human fishing gear as the single greatest threat to sea turtles worldwide, so the fact that Dietrich and Sutton dived in means something. Most species of sea turtles are endangered, and it's going to take everyone, from recreational spearfishers to commercial fisheries, to move them back from the red.
And with any luck, that means we'll get more moments like this.
UPDATE: David Godfrey, executive director of The Sea Turtle Conservancy, said in an interview with HuffPost Green that the sea turtle’s circular swimming was probably the result of limited paralysis in its left flipper. Motion often comes back very quickly, he said, and it was likely not a threat to the turtle.
The divers getting off the boat to help the turtle, he added, “was absolutely the right thing to do, absolutely the best thing that could happen in that situation.”