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I post on Monday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Monday, August 5, 2013

A True Story

Hassel Island
Recently my sister, Erva, went over to Hassel Island with her boyfriend, D. and a ten year old boy, R. What follows is a slightly abbreviated account of a true story.


It's been at least 50 years since I set foot on Hassel Island and much has changed. The old buildings, while overgrown, are still visible.

The Creque marine railway (the rectangular cut-away)
is visible to the far right, with the hill Erva and R.
walked up to the left.

I particularly wanted to see the Hassel family graveyard. There is a trail from the area of the old Creque marine railway that wanders along the shore and past the old coaling station. It then goes up the hill to the other side of the ridge to the 1801 British Officer quarters. Just behind that is the family graveyard. (You can read more about the island's fascinating history HERE)

The Creque marine railway.

R. and I were about a third of the way up the hill, at least a hundred yards away from the shore when I saw something unusual on the trail.  At first I thought it was a blossom that had fallen from one of the trees, but I stopped because that didn't quite register.

Puffer fish

I bent down to pick it up - it was alive and gasping - a baby porcupine puffer fish.  It was about an inch and a half long.  I put it into R.'s hands and he ran with it down the trail to the shoreline to get it into the water again.

How did it get there?  Probably a bird - a tern, seagull or frigate - scooped it up from the shallow water, then the poor little fish puffed up exposing its spines and the bird dropped it.

When I got to the shore, R. was tending it in the shallow water, but it was not responding well. As fate would have it, right there, was an intact quart sized Tupperware tub that had washed up. I filled it with seawater and we placed the poor little struggling fish in the tub. As soon as we got back to the old railway, we refilled it with fresh seawater. 
The Puffer Fish

By this time, the little fish was fully puffed up with water...the right thing as it had been so dehydrated.  It's little  tail and fins were dry and sticking to his little body, but they were beginning to loosen from the sides of his body.

Puffer fish (4387356228)

Eventually the little fish was no longer all puffed up and back to normal size. All his little fins and tail were functioning correctly and he was even spitting water out of his little mouth.

The next step in the adventure was to call some children, who live on a sailboat in the bay, to come see the fish and help us with a ceremony to return him to the sea.

Maho tree flower

We included a fresh Maho tree blossom to go with him and saw him swimming happily away.


Have you ever rescued a wild animal from certain death?


  1. Glad he was all right.
    I've stopped and moved turtles off the road before.

  2. Poor little fish. It's a good thing they found him.

  3. Great story. Like Alex, I've moved turtles. And once we had an injured fawn outside our back fence; his back leg looked broken. But there wasn't anything we could do for him...

  4. The coincidences were awesome. What if R. and I had not walked up that trail at that time, and we had not found an appropriate resuscitating chamber?

    Something had to have been guiding us!

  5. Wonderful story. No such thing as coincidence.

  6. What a fabulous story! I am so glad they were able to save him/her! How wonderful that they were there at the right time and were able to get him back to his proper state.

    I try to save wild animals whenever I can. I once held a wounded deer in my arms (someone had hit him with their car, but he was still alive) until he passed away. I see lots of turtles and help them cross the road. I once tried to save a cow, but after quite an adventure (and a long treck though mud to get the farmer) I found out it was giving birth, not hurt! :)

    Thanks for sharing and thanks to your sister and R!

  7. I've tried, but in the end my inexperience ended up killing them as much as the elements I was trying to save them from.

  8. Love the story and pictures. Maybe you can write it up for Highlights. They love unique stories like this. I've only adopted animals from a shelter, and probably killed quite a few worms and other small critters putting them in jars and whatnot to show and tell :(

  9. What a wonderful story, Bish. And the photos are terrific.

  10. An amazing story! You both were clear headed to provide the fish more life.

    Sadly, I have not participated in any rescue attempts. My brothers always chose the "dark" path.

  11. You've got a picture book here, Bish. I'd say write that up and publish it with your pictures.


  12. Porcupine puffer fish!? I've never even heard of such a thing! Great photos. :)

  13. Glad you were able to save the fish from death. The one in the last picture looks as if he's about to smile. :)

  14. Hi Deniz .. what a wonderful story and am so happy said puffer is now safe and well (I presume they have a good long life!) ..

    Gorgeous to give him a send off - and great you involved the children ..

    It's amazing what does get dropped from the air .. I was thinking fish! Cheers Hilary


Your Random Thoughts are most welcome!