When head of office for Operations Lisa Glandfield went for an invigorating weekend dip off the south coast, she wasn’t expecting to rescue a rare turtle usually found in Mexico or the Canaries.
Lisa was swimming with her friend Emma Holter, when they spotted the injured ‘Olive Ridley’ turtle 20m off Seaford beach in East Sussex.
The endangered species – one of the smallest of all sea turtles – was struggling with injuries to its face and shell.
The sisters brought the reptile to shore and called the British Divers Marine Life Rescue, which took the turtle to Brighton Sea Life Centre for treatment.
Corinne Gordon, a marine medic, told BBC News: ‘She does have some damage but her injuries are not life threatening.
‘However, it’s a big concern that she only had a temperature of 10.8C when picked up. She is in cold shock. We’re really hoping she survives.’
‘Once the juvenile turtle is at a more natural temperature for her breed, it is hoped she will be able to feed.’
Lisa said: ‘She was such a beautiful thing, despite looking quite poorly. I hope she survives. Apparently it will take weeks to get her back to an appropriate core temperature but we’re hoping to go and visit her.’
Lisa’s daughter, Nettie, added: ‘We thought she may be dead, but every now and then she would make a small movement.
‘The beach was windy, so we wrapped her in a wet towel to keep her a bit warmer, and sheltered, until the vet arrived.
‘She wasn't very big, about the size of a Jack Russell, and she was so far from home.’
Dr Sky Yates, a vet who helped with the rescue and confirmed the markings and colour were consistent with the Olive Ridley breed, said: ‘It was so bizarre seeing this turtle on Seaford beach.
‘She's got a long way to go with recovery, but the ladies who pulled her from the water did a great job.’