Ocean Art 2022 - 2nd Place Underwater Conservation

2nd Place Underwater Conservation

 Caroline Power

"Drowned in Plastic"


Caroline Power won a 7 night dive trip with El Galleon/Asia Divers in Peurto Galera, Philippines!


The Story: During hatching season, juvenile turtles head out to sea and seek shelter on anything they can find. Sargassum mats provide ample shelter among the seaweed as well as food for the young turtles. It is their oasis in a hostile ocean. Many spend their first years of life sheltering there. I received a call that a plastic filled sargassum mat was washing ashore.  There were hatchling sea turtles in it that were becoming trapped in the thick garbage as it hit the shoreline and were in need of rescue. A group of rescuers and I spent the better part of two hours wading through the plastic filled water in search of any live sea turtles. I took my camera with me, precariously dragging it through the thick plastic soup as I searched for live hatchlings. I snapped a few photos along the way not because it was a memory I wanted to be reminded of. I took the photos in hope that they might make people realize what we are doing to the oceans. We have turned them into a dumping ground. These poor critically endangered hatchlings already have enough hurdles to cross without adding anthropogenic causes to the mix.  We managed to rescue 18 live turtles from this environmental catastrophe. Sadly, I also found six dead hatchlings buried in the plastic soup. The sea turtle in this photo really made an impression on me. His fragile body, lifelessly floating among society’s garbage. I took several photos, trying to position the strobes and myself upright while the swell swayed me and the garbage back and forth. The result encapsulated the dangers facing the oceans from every day single use plastics: packaging, cups, bags,  cutlery. The things people use every day without a thought. It is time to start thinking.

Location: Roatan, Honduras

Equipment Used: Olympus EM1 Mark II, Panasonic Lumix 7-14mm Lens, Nauticam Housing and Port, Dual Inon Z330 Strobes

Camera Settings: ISO 63, F13, 1/60 sec


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