New Blog

September 11, 2006

Well, it’s been a busy week here but at the computer, not in the yard. We have finally got a new version of the blog up and running. It looks a little different but it has solved some of the problems that kept us from making it public. We will continue to tweak it as the weeks go by but we’d like you guys to take it for a test drive before we put a link on the website.

Apologies to those of you that posted comments in the past – they got lost in the transition. 😦 So you’ll just have to leave new comments! We’ll get back to turtles here shortly . . .

We’re going to stop posting here – so click over to the new blog and bookmark it.

New Blog
As of December 2008 that blog was shut down and is no longer available.



September 6, 2006

Wow – where do the days go?! Sorry about the delay in getting to this! Here is Emerald. The first info that we got on this turtle (see previous post) was wrong. Not an adult and not male. This is a very large sub-adult, female, green turtle. A mouthful to say and a handful to wrangle. She is fat and healthy and not really happen at all about her visit here.

She came in with numerous scrapes on her head and carapace, not unlike Kali – just a bit smaller at 200 pounds instead of the whopping 315 of Kali. The wounds were not severe and although some were very near her left eye, there was no injury to the eye itself. Our concern with head injuries is that there could be internal damage that we are unable to assess. We had a male green die of internal bleeding in the brain last summer. So, we kept Emerald here for 72 hours of observation in hopes that no further internal damage had occurred.

Given that the wounds will heal just fine on their own and she does not appear to be suffering from further injury we released her last night. She took off like a rocket once she hit the water and we never even saw her come up for a breath!

The white patches are scrapes down to the bone.


She didn’t take kindly to being man-handled!


Back where she belongs.


New patient

September 2, 2006

We just got a call from the folks at FWC and they have a near adult size green turtle that doesn’t have severe injuries but needs at least a check up and observation.  This turtle should be at the center sometime later today.  Sure is a season of large green turtles for us.  We have gone several years without a large green but have recently had Fiona and Kali. Stay tuned for more details on the new one.

Good news

August 31, 2006

The storm was really nothing at all – we have worse thunderstorms on any given day in the summer! That’s good because it means no damage and no loss of power so we are back to normal here today.

Joy has been ignoring a lobster in her tank for weeks now even though we stopped feeding her “easy” food. Finally today we chased the lobster around the tank which seemed to stimulate Joy to go after it. Once she got a hold of it, the lobster did not stand a chance. Joy ate aggressively which is a good indicator that her weak jaw problems seem to have resolved. Some final blood tests, a check up by the vet, some flipper tags and she will probably be out of here in the next couple of weeks.

The time for Joy’s rehab was longer than most of the turtles we get – about 9 months. But that was not unexpected. The last turtle we had with a similar condition to Joy was Vito (a 200 pound adult male loggerhead). In his case we had to surgically place a feeding tube in his neck because we could not open his paralyzed jaw to feed him (well, that and it is not easy to haul a 200 pounder out of the tank and put a tube down his throat several times a week!) We used that tube to feed Vito the same highly nutritious pet food that Miracle is getting. Eventually he regained the use of his jaw and was released just over 9 months after we got him.

Vito with his esophagostomy (feeding tube in his esophagus)


Fiona’s farewell

August 29, 2006

In advance of Ernesto we decided to release Fiona today. It was a certainly an understated affair with staff, volunteers and a few passers-by at the event. Certainly not the hoopla that she would have deserved if it was not an “emergency” release. Heaven knows she had a lot of fans and we would have liked to throw her a nice going away party. It was instead a fairly quiet send off into the surf. She took a while to crawl the short distance to the water (we could not have carried her a step further – 160 lbs.) but once she got into swimming depth she powered offshore fairly quickly. Bet she’s gonna miss the salad bar!

Thanks to the volunteers that were able to come in and get the place cleaned up for the storm – and we know the rest of you were there in spirit! Turns out Ernesto looks like he is going to be more bark than bite – but after the last 2 hurricane seasons that is a relief! We should be back in business on Thursday if we have power at the center and the park is open.

A couple of parting shots of Fiona:



Hurricane prep

August 28, 2006

Oh, it’s that time of year again.  With the possibility of Ernesto bearing down on us we will be preparing here tomorrow (Tuesday) morning.  That means securing all loose equipment around the yard and building, covering computers to keep them dry and making sure the gift shop items are kept dry as well.

For storms like this we dry-dock the turtles (put them inside in bins).  They are safer there than they would be in a tank with the potential of flying debris.  The exception in this case may be Fiona.  While we are not ready quite yet to part with her, at her size dry-docking places a tremendous stress on her system.  She will likely be released here at the beach sometime tomorrow.  Gotta go take some more photos before she goes 🙂

To follow the storm predictions, you can look here:

National Hurricane Center 

Complaint to the management

August 25, 2006

Dear Management,

I, Miracle, would like to file an official complaint regarding the “Turtle Taco”. Being wrapped in a towel, placed in a bucket, put on public display, and having cat food (of all things) force fed to me is not very dignified for “So Excellent a Fishe”.***


Dear Miracle,

We don’t like it any more than you do. But we would like you to have every chance to recover and go back to the “Big Blue”. We do it because we care. Sorry about the cat food bit. It is special pet food designed to provide the most nutrition possible.

***”So Excellent a Fishe; A Natural History of Sea Turtles” by Archie Carr is an excellent read for anyone interested in sea turtles. Dr. Archie Carr was a pioneer in the field of sea turtle research and his books are always a fun mixture of science and a lyrical love for all things natural. The book is currently out of print but used copies can be found rather cheaply on the internet or through used book stores. Definitely worth tracking down.