Surf City, NC – September 30, 2013 – First of all, many thanks to all of you for sticking with us as we work our carapaces off completing the move to the new facility. We have gradually been transporting our smaller patients from our Topsail Beach location to their new home in Surf City. And all new admits go directly there, usually into our ICU.
The wrench thrown into the gears on a smooth transition continues to be the water system, or systems. We have three separate systems at the new hospital: two small systems and the big mama, that main one that will keep the patients in our 60 x 60 sea turtle bay in toasty comfort. The two smaller systems were relatively easy to hook up and get running. But their operative word is “small,” and small can effectively handle only so many tanks.
Most of the turtles still in our old building are anything but small. There’s “Padi” our big Loggerhead lady whose release was delayed when she became a blood donor to one of the new admits (that’s a story for another day.) Then we have the largest five-year-old Loggerhead in the world, “Lefty” who is well over the one-fifty mark. And there are a slew of mid-range turtles (hovering in the 100+/- range). They all require good-sized tanks, with lots of water. For you “mathletes” a typical rehab tank is six feet in diameter by four feet deep, so you can work the numbers and figure out the volume. We had sixty-five turtles in residence over the winter, and although not everyone was in a tank that size (some were much larger, some smaller) it’s still a lot of water no matter how you crunch the numbers.
When we really stood back and looked at all the components of the mother system we knew we’d have to call in the experts. Experts become experts because they’re always working; so we’re at the mercy of their busy schedule. Right now we’re waiting for confirmation of their arrival. If it looks too far into the future we do have “Plan B” in place so we can get the remaining turtles relocated before the cold weather sets in.
Although we’re not yet open for tours when you visit our gift shop you can see some of the turtles already in residence. The gift shop days/hours of operation have changed to Wednesday, from 2-4 PM and Saturday, from 10 AM to 2 PM. Keep up with what’s going on by visiting our Facebook page: The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue & Rehabilitation Center. It’s updated almost daily.
Three more free
The last three turtles to pass their physicals during Dr. Harm’s visit were released on Tuesday, September 17th to the cheers and well-wishes of a very enthusiastic crowd. “Ocean’s 11” who had been with us for almost four years finally went home, and we watched for some time as her big old head popped up through the waves as she headed out to deeper water. Kemp’s “Blue” and Green “Seastar” joined her on their winter odyssey, and the way they shot through the waves they probably flew past our gentle old lady in no time. Thanks to everyone who showed up to take part in this and our other “mini-releases” over the summer months. Next June’s release, the inaugural release from the new facility looks like it’s going to be one of the biggest ever.
Those little critters can’t wait to get out of the sand and into the water after spending about sixty days cooped up in a hole with their brothers and sisters. I say it every week, but the following bears repeating not only for new visitors but for everyone. We rely on our visitors and residents to be our extra eyes on the beach, and to help us maintain a safe environment those hatchlings. Turn off outdoor lights; they can disorient and distract a turtle. If you dig holes be sure to fill them in before you leave the beach for the day. Holes are not only a hazard for humans (there have been numerous injuries over the years) but they can trap/injure a turtle, especially a little one-ounce hatchling, and could cause their death. Ditto with beach furniture that’s been abandoned or even just left out overnight.
We honestly don’t know exactly when a nest will hatch. We’re not being evasive when you ask – just honest. If you see a nice, smooth ramp-like area in front of a staked nest it means our coordinator(s) feel that a hatch is likely to happen within a few days. You may join them on the beach at night as long as you sit quietly and follow their instructions. All species of sea turtles are federally protected and harassing or harming them in any way will result in hefty fines and/or imprisonment. Even though our volunteers are out every morning, and now nest sitting at night, they can’t be everywhere 24/7. If you come across a nesting turtle, turtle tracks, a hatching nest or hatchlings on the beach contact our Director of Beach Operations, Terry Meyer at 910-470-2880 who will pick up turtle calls no matter what time of the day or night. Please report any and all local sea turtle activity (strandings, injured or sick turtles) immediately to Terry. She can be reached at: email@example.com for non-emergencies.
Hospital gift days/hours change for fall
When: Wednesday; 2-4 PM and Saturday; 10 AM to 2 PM. Cash and checks only at this time.
Where: Off of 50/210, take J.H. Batts Rd. (next to Gilligan’s) toward the Surf City Community Center. Turn right onto Community Center Dr. and keep going all the way around their building to the big tan building with the light green roof. That’s us. Don’t call – there’s no phone yet.
What’s there? Clothing, accessories, plush animals and other turtle “stuff,” most of it exclusive to our hospital. We just completed an inventory and are ordering more of the winter items (long-sleeved T’s and sweats, headbands, etc.)
Questions, comments, suggestions??
Please direct any questions, comments or suggestions re: this column to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. This column moves to the off-season schedule of publication of every other week with this edition. To be added to the newsletter list e-mail me at the same address: email@example.com. If your e-mail address has recently changed please send me your new one so I can update my master list. I’ve been adding everyone who requests the newsletter, but the next one won’t come out until after we make the move to the new facility.