Turtle Tears

In the past I sailed with a man who had been Master longer than I had been alive, Peter Zimmer was a consummate Master Mariner who handed to me the best of a lifetime of marine experience.

One of his previous jobs was looking after a fleet of laid up big tankers in Brunei Bay. He lived ashore with a small team and each day they would go round the fleet in their boat checking moorings, bilges and the general status of the ships.

Times being hard and ship owners canny they made their feeding money go a bit further by laying a fishing net going out and recovering it on the way in.

One day they found a large turtle in the net, exhausted but alive. Happy times, food for several days and a gourmet’s delight as Turtle soup is a delicacy. With some effort the turtle was brought on deck and freed from the net.

Peter told me that as he looked at the turtle and savoured the feast a large tear welled in the turtle’s eye, slid down its sad face and dropped onto the deck at his feet.

The turtle went back into the water and he never had turtle soup again. I never have and never will.

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