On Sunday, mom took Doug and I to Loggerhead Marine Life Center for a one-hour tour. Cue the "Gilligan's Island" theme song because once we were there, we had a hard time leaving. I had been there a few times since it's super close to campus (and I have a weak spot for sea turtles) but mom and D had never been. We went because mom was teaching her class about reptiles last week and none of her students had ever seen a turtle and she wanted some photos to show them. I'm kicking myself for not bringing a notebook to write down the turtles' names and stories. Luckily, I've been able to match some of the photos to the ones on their site.
We started our trip in the marine life center proper, looking at the habitat tanks while waiting for our tour to start.
This is a replica skeleton of Archelon, an ancient sea turtle.
The first turtle we met on the tour had some buoyancy issues.Poor Anna Belle can't dive completely, possibly because there is air trapped under her shell from when she got hit by a boat.
The next turtle I met broke my heart. His name is Poseidon and he's a Kemp's Ridley. They are
One of my favorite things about Loggerhead is their dedication to rehabilitation. Their goal is to get every single turtle released back into the wild.
One of the coolest things I saw was the work of an orthodontist. He volunteered his time to wire shut Zoe's cracked shell; essentially, he gave her braces.
This turtle has deep scars from where it was hit by a boat and while the soft tissue has healed, the shell has not (yet).
This is Jessica. She's been to Loggerhead once before and was tagged when she was released. Unfortunately, she ended up trapped in a water intake pipe at a power plant because she was too weak to swim out. Luckily for her, FPL (Florida Power & Light) is a big supporter of Loggerhead and sea turtles and got her help. While I was there, she barely moved.
The staff put an antibiotic drip directly into her body cavity.
Perhaps my favorite turtle there (besides Poseidon) is Chestnut, a tiny baby Kemp's Ridley. I had never seen a baby before and had no idea what kind of turtle he was. Baby Kemp's Ridley turtles hatch a very dark color and lighten as they grow older.
He's a really little guy who was washed ashore. Other than a slight bacterial infection, he's in pretty good health and they just need to get him strong enough to not get washed back again.
There were a lot of little ones who just needed to get up their strength and wait for a good day to be released back into the wild.
Loggerhead also does a lot of educational programs and community outreach. They happened to be setting up a lab as I walked by.
As soon as mom saw this turtle blowing bubbles at the window, she called me over. I wish I could remember which turtle this is because s/he was so cute.
I went to a marine science high school and majored in environmental studies in college so I get very interested in the sea turtles' welfare. But our visit to the marine life center wasn't all serious; we had a lot of fun posing for these photos.