Topsail Advertiser
  • Nesting winds down, hatching heats up

  • We’re making steady progress at the new facility. After being delayed for what seemed like forever by backordered water system components enough of the stuff has arrived that we can almost get the thing up and flowing. We can’t wait to see what kind of adventures await us when we turn the valves and start making our own salt water!
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  • We’re making steady progress at the new facility. After being delayed for what seemed like forever by backordered water system components enough of the stuff has arrived that we can almost get the thing up and flowing. We can’t wait to see what kind of adventures await us when we turn the valves and start making our own salt water!
    The space in our 60-by-60 Sea Turtle Bay has been laid out for the various tanks that will house our existing and yet-to-come patients. In fact, several of our turtles have already had a few nights stay at the inn and gave it a five-flipper review. “Holden III,” a little green admitted just over a year ago with a severe head injury spent the week before his release (last Thursday) rocketing around in a very large tank, building muscle in preparation for his big day. Two other little greens, “Wiggles” and “Crush” are currently in our ICU unit, undergoing extensive daily treatments. It’s a nice quiet spot to recuperate after spending their first months in the hustle and bustle of our place in Topsail Beach.
    As our patients recover over the summer we’ve been doing a series of small releases. Last week, along with Holden III we released a large loggerhead, “Sandy Bay,” who came to us this spring quite ill but with a lot of  attitude. “Monroe,” another loggerhead admitted last year with horrific propeller injuries to his carapace, is the other rehab overachiever who joined Holden and Sandy Bay as they departed our care into the arms of Mother Ocean. Godspeed, and stay safe out there.
    And — our gift shop is open and are we ever busy! No more tent, no more working out of bins, no more shirts and hats blowing off shelves when the wind kicks up, and we have stuffed turtles galore in all sizes, colors and “species.” It’s paradise, literally, for both the shoppers and the staff. Stop by on Monday and Wednesday from 2-4 p.m. and take a look at our exclusive hospital clothing and accessories. Shop for yourself and get those holiday gifts early. We can only accept cash and checks at this time but hope to have the credit card line up shortly. While you’re there take a peek at Sea Turtle Bay. Our resident Kemp’s and Hospital Ambassador “Lennie” will be moving into the large tank right in front of the door. He can’t wait to get there and kick off “Lennie’s Fan Club.”
    Things are changing quickly, and the best way to keep up with what’s going on is by visiting our Facebook page: The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue & Rehabilitation Center. It’s updated almost daily. You’ll have to pay attention because it’s where Jean announces our “mini releases,” sometimes just a few hours before they happen. We’ll keep you apprised of our progress and let you know when we’re ready to open for tours.
    Page 2 of 3 - To get to our new hospital: 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. We do not have a phone there yet, and the one at our current place hasn’t worked for months, so calling is futile. But we’re not that hard to find.
    Nesting winds down, hatching heats up
    Wow – it’s been a great year so far with over 120 nests and still another few weeks to go in the official “season.” Most of the mamas have already done their thing, more than once, and are now headed out to wherever it is they go for some good chow and R&R. Hatchlings rule — literally popping up all over the island, and they’ll continue to do so through October.
    With nesting and hatching both going on this month our Turtle Project volunteers are about as busy as they ever get. Now we really need the eyes of our visitors and residents to maintain a safe environment for mom and her kids. Turn off outdoor lights; they can disorient and distract a turtle, big and small. 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.
    Now we never know exactly when a nest will hatch so please don’t think we’re being evasive when we can’t tell you - we honestly don’t know. But 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 topsailseaturtle@aol.com for non-emergencies.
    Page 3 of 3 - Questions, comments, suggestions??
    Please direct any questions, comments or suggestions re: this column to me at: flippers@att.net. To be added to the newsletter list e-mail me at the same address: flippers@att.net. 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.
     
    Karen Sota is the volunteer media coordinator for the Sea Turtle Hospital in Topsail Beach.
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