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Hollie’s summer in the Maldives rescuing sea turtles

WHILE some teenagers spend their summer holidays being bored, one Carlisle girl travelled to the Maldives to rescue sea turtles.

Hollie Tweedie, 18, headed to Soneva Jani to work as a marine biologist, a career she would like to pursue in the future.

Her passion was ignited when she was just 11-years-old on a family holiday to the Indian Ocean.

Hollie, who lives with her family at Wreay, near Carlisle, said: “I had the best summer, with this wonderful experience. I spent two months out there and the we had perfect weather apart from one week when it was a bit stormy.

“I walked along the beach everyday looking for turtle hatchlings and rescued them. I loved feeling that I could help them.

“There was a turtle festival one day and on that day we rescued about 12 hatchlings who had got stuck inside stagnant water. The team I worked with and myself helped release them onto the beach. Some of them were just a day old.

“While I was there we held a turtle festival and at that event we got a call to say a baby heron had been found inside one of the guest villas.

“It was about three months old and one of its legs was broken.

“We adopted him and looked after him. I named him Ivy as in Hollie and the Ivy.

“Ivy is about four months old now and the team I worked with are sending me regular updates as to how he’s getting on.”

Hollie regularly organises beach clean ups along the Solway coast. She drives to her beach clean ups in her Mini called Evalyn and recently starred in a promotional film for the car manufacturer.

She said: “While I was in the Maldives I conducted a micro plastic survey on the island and also rescued a young Mobula Ray.

“Asides from rescuing the green sea turtles, other highlights included kayaking and swimming with a pod of wild bottlenose dolphins in the open ocean.

“Snorkelling among manta rays, mobula rays, eagle rays and sting rays and swimming with wild black tip and white tip reef sharks.

“The turtle festival on a local island was good and my ghost net bracelet project. When I was there I had to choose to do something as my own project.

“I chose to make bracelets and anklets out of ghost nets which I retrieved from the sea.

“I did this to raise awareness of the ghost nets and the damage they are causing. Before I left, I presented this project to the managers, who loved it, they said even though I am leaving they will continue to do this and I will leave a legacy.”

Hollie also got to take guests snorkelling. She said: “I had to give a talk at the beginning of the snorkel, choose a location, check the current and visibility, then guide the guests on the snorkel, pointing out interesting things and educating them.”

She also built a coral reef nursery and monitored the growth of the coral, carried out micro plastic surveys and did theory work and talks.

She said: “This experience has really motivated me to continue working hard and has given me an insight into what I could be doing in the future. I am going to take every opportunity and do everything I can to achieve what I have always dreamed of doing.

“The next step for me is to complete my final year of A-levels at Caldew School and apply to Rollins University in Florida, where I would like to study marine biology.

“I met so many amazing people from all over the world, who became my friends and each of them taught me something new, not only did I learn about marine biology, I learned a lot about different cultures and countries.

“I began to learn a new language when I was there, I made some best friends for life, who I dearly miss already and saw some wonderful things.

“I think the experience changed me personally, as now I want to travel everywhere and learn as much as possible, including different languages.

“I am now more confident and independent and I feel like I can do anything.”