Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My Sea Turtle Adventure

So last week JQ and I were camping on Bear Island, NC. I went for a run on the beach one morning, got about 1.5 miles into it, and notice a big brown lump on the beach up ahead of me. As I'm running up to it, I keep trying to figure out what it is--you know how it is when you see something really keep trying to fit your perception to some hypothesis about what it is. (That's a really interesting experience, incidentally, somewhere between something involuntary and perceptual and conscious and theoretical.) Anyway, when I finally get up on it, I see that it's a dead loggerhead sea turtle. Damn, this thing is in nasty shape. Every inch of it, including every inch of its head, covered in barnacles. Sea weed growing on its shell. One front flipper gone, the back two chewed up. There was no way it was alive, but I realized I'd better make sure, so I chugged my water, filled the bottle with seawater, and poured it on the turtle's head...and I'll be damned if the thing didn't raise its head up! I couldn't believe it. It looked way past dead.

Anyway, I ran back to camp, called the rangers, got a big water bottle, and ran back. By the time I got back, the sea gulls were already crowding in around it, and had to be chased away. Anyway, I kept pouring water on it, and it kept raising up its head...but it took a long time for the ranger to show (it turns out they were short-handed). Though I'd run less than five miles, I'd run it fast, hadn't had breakfast, and had been standing in the sun trying to shade this turtle for well over an hour in extremely hot sun...and I was actually starting to feel kinda woozy by the time the ranger showed up. At first he thought it was dead, and had to be convinced otherwise--it was so bloated he thought it was rotting. Anyway, we lifted into the back of his Gator, and drove it up to his boat, and he took it back across the sound, and then it was taken to the Sea Turtle Hospital on Topsail beach. I got an e-mail from the director saying that the turtle was a female, and a juvenile, about 30 years old. They've been pumping it full of vitamins and antibiotics and trying to get it to eat. They're calling her Hammock (II), and here's a picture of her from the day she was found...though she's a pretty grisly sight.

So that was my sea turtle adventure.


Blogger Richard Forshee said...

I hope she makes it. Good job WS.

9:39 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Check me out, savin' God's creatures...

...or at least prolonging their agony...

5:12 AM  
Blogger The Mystic said...

She is a hardcore badass.

8:11 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

I know, right? While I was sitting there on the beach with her, I was thinking "this is like the embodiment of perseverance."

8:48 AM  
Anonymous Lewis Carroll said...

Good for you Winston. You're what my tribe calls a *mensch*.

11:17 PM  

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