Straws and Turtles

img_6396Among the gifts that I received for Christmas was a thin metal straw from my sister Mai and her boyfriend Quint who both love animals. On the tag it said “save the turtles!”

img_6474Plastic has been such a huge problem in the world and for quite some time now, there’s been a movement to reduce on plastic – especially single-use plastic, such as straws. So having metal straws really help especially if you drink beverages a lot in restaurants. You can carry it with you and it’s reusable. However, be sure to carry some wipes for it too or wash it before and after (restaurants typically have rest rooms with sinks), and of course tell the server beforehand that you will not be needing a straw for your drink (if it typically comes with one).

img_6462Another option is bamboo straws. I got one from a pearl shake kiosk named Zagu in the Philippines. I was pleasantly surprised to find that they sell bamboo straws, both a thin one and a bigger one to drink the pearls with. (Pearl shakes are like shakes that comes in different flavors but with “pearls” in them – little sago balls like in bubble tea.) I purchased the bigger one since I already have the thinner metal one.

So why “save the turtles”? Turtles eat jellyfishes and can easily mistake plastic for jellyfish, which of course is toxic. Turtles die because of this. It’s horrible. There’s cringe-worthy footage of scientists trying to pull out a straw stuck in an olive ridley sea turtle in Costa Rica. Ugh.

Thanks to Quint and my beloved sister Mai for the thoughtful gift :)

So anyway I posted about the straws with the hashtag #savetheturtles on my social media and discovered some online shops, if you are interested to get some for yourself (note that I am not sponsored):

And here’s an online accessory shop that donates 10% of profit to turtles:

In relation to this, the day after Christmas Day, we went to Apo Island – a small island located off the southeastern tip of Negros Island, which is a big island in the Visayas Region in the Philippines.

Okay, we didn’t actually go to the island itself, but we went snorkelling around the island where we were able to meet… turtles! They may be slow on land, but they’re very graceful in the water. I came close to some of them but didn’t touch any of them because the guide had told us not to touch them, so I was well-behaved.

I would like to point out though, that I encountered several small jellyfishes as well – I hate jellyfishes, they make me itchy, though according to my 8-year-old nephew, these were relatively harmless. I guess the turtles weren’t too hungry at that time of day.

Here are some still photos (that I took from some of our GoPro videos) of them:

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Here’s a video of my nephew trying to swim after a turtle and me telling him (if you can understand it through the snorkel) not to touch the turtles:

 

Here’s a video of Mai and Quint exploring the coral area down below and a sighting of a turtle off to the side:

 

I am so envious of Mai and Quint for being able to free dive so deep like that. Here’s a video of me trying to dive down and then just giving up:

*I wasn’t using flippers that time, but I tried with flippers too and still didn’t work =/

Thanks to my fiancé Elias for holding the GoPro almost the entire time.

Do you have a metal or bamboo (or paper) straw? Are you planning to get some for yourself? Have you been snorkelling around with turtles (and jellyfishes)? Let me know in the comments below.

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