lifestyle, travel This is Cozumel

Hopes are high that a large sea turtle saved by a tourist in Cozumel will go on to survive her injuries.

The Green sea turtle - Chelonia mydas - was found by Steve Booker from Oklahoma, in July, when he was out for a walk to watch the sun rise on the island's east coast.

In an exclusive interview with This is Cozumel, the frequent island visitor explained how he found the turtle stuck on her back, with her underside in the air, on the edge of Chen Rio beach.

"I thought she was dead", said Steve, "but then I noticed she was blinking and she started moving".

Steve set his video camera down on the beach to film himself and the turtle as he flipped her over onto her front. The video he recorded quickly went viral on YouTube, where it has now been watched over 34,000 times, as well as being reported on by media around the world.


Watch the full video on YouTube.


The turtle is estimated to weight over 300 pounds and it took some effort to turn her over. "She was heavy", said Steve.

Once she was right-way-up, damage could clearly be seen on the front edge of her shell and it's thought she probably fell about 4-5 feet off the side of the road and onto the beach, possibly landing on rocks on the way down.

Director of Cozumel Reefs National Park and sea turtle expert, Cristopher Gonzalez Baca, told This is Cozumel she probably ventured across the road to lay her eggs in the humid area around a small lake on the other side.

Cristopher said he couldn't be sure from the video, but if the damage to the shell was superficial and didn't reach the turtle's lungs, which are right under the shell, then it very likely the shell will repair and she will fully recover from her injuries.

The fact that she walked back into the sea and swam off on her own also raises hopes that her injuries weren't severe.

Although he appreciated Steve's quick actions and it looks like everything turned out well in this case, Cristopher recommended others call the police if they find themselves in a similar situation. "They can guard the spot and contact the relevant authorities to help the injured animal", he said.

It's not uncommon to see turtles while diving or snorkeling in Cozumel. Thousands of sea turtles also lay their eggs on Cozumel's eastern beaches every year and there are a variety of programs to protect them.

"Seeing a sea turtle has been on my to do list for a while", added Steve, "I'm so very happy I got to be a part of this one's life, and maybe on my next trip I can swim with one."

Upon request, Steve has named the rescued turtle, Lucky.