Welcome to 2013
It is just the beginning of the New Year and nowwhere near time for adult female turtles to be coming ashore to lay their eggs, but that doesn’t always guarantee a “down time” for the OIBSTPO. We had been reading in the papers and seeing email from the State that many “cold stunned” turtles have begun to wash on shore in the Northern part of North Carolina. The last time there was a large cold stunning event was 2011 and the OIBSTPO was called on to help out at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue & Rehabilitation Center. In early January, Jim and Deb began to pool the OIBSTPO Volunteers to see if anyone would be available to help out, if a call for help would come. Several people indicated their eagerness to help – so we waited for the call. That call came from Jean Beasley on January 21. Jean was delighted that we were ready and would make our first trip to Topsail on Friday, January 25.
January 25, four of us took off for Topsail Beach, NC at 7:00 a.m. We worked with 15 of the turtles: feeding, cleaning out their tanks, giving them baths and returning them to a nice clean tank. This is done 1 turtle at a time! As the turtles get healthier and pass the “critical” stage, Jean will give each turtle a name. She does this with every turtle in her care. By 2 p.m., we had finished taking care of all 15 turtles, put a load of towels in the wash and began our trip back to OIB. We were all tired, a “bit” stinky, and with a wonderful feeling of satisfaction in knowing that we are contributing to the healthy return of these beautiful creatures. We are ready for next Friday and every Friday after that until they are healthy enough to be returned to their ocean home. February 1, week 2, We arrived and ready for duty and to our surprise, there were an additional 11 turtles, bringing our total patient list to 26. Whew!! We were introduced to a new volunteer (Patrick) that had offered to help out on his day off, which is Friday, so we have made him an honorary OIBSTPO Crew Member! He is from Surf City but he fits in with this crew just fine. A few of the turtles are not doing well and having difficulty eating; especially Snickers. She has pneumonia and difficulty breathing but we all pray that they will all pull through. We all know our tasks so we got started knowing this was going to take awhile longer with the eleven additional turtles. We are all finished and ready to head back to OIB about 3:30 – tired but happy! February 8, week 3, What a privilege it is for the OIBSTPO crew to help out. Upon arriving yesterday morning, we were met with sad news…..Snickers had passed away; the pneumonia was too much for this frail little one. Good news though was that all but 3 of the remaining 25 turtles were eating on their own – YEAH! The greatest news of the day was that Merigo, a loggerhead, finally pooped!!!!! The first time since arriving at the hospital. A huge cheer went up by all of us as this was indeed progress for her!!!! We’ll rest up and be ready to head back next Friday.
Week 4 at the Turtle Hospital is now under our belts. We are beginning to see the turtles starting their journey to being healthy again. All but 3 are eating on their own and their appetites are increasing! Jennifer is still prodding the remaining 3. We were very surprised and VERY honored when Jean gave us exciting news – one of the turtles (D-2) was given the name “BOYCE” on Friday….WOW. Jim & Deb have decided to “adopt” the entire Friday Crew because “BOYCE” is “our” turtle; not just Jim & Deb’s. She is a Green Sea Turtle and beautiful. (Of course!!) Hopefully we can get a picture of her next week and post.