By Karen Sota
A few weeks ago we told you that everybody’s favorite green, “Canal” would be setting off for a new life at his forever home at SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord. On Tuesday, May 3rd he’ll be packing up his grotto and along with his entourage heading west where his specially constructed room with a brand new 5,000-gallon tank with three viewing windows is up and running. Of course we’re not going to let him go without a big send-off.
“Canal Days” (April 29th – May 1st) will be a celebration of his seven years as one of our hospital’s most popular patients. If you’ve scheduled your tour during that time there will be special photo ops with Canal, commemorative stickers and a large card that you can sign wishing him well on his journey. For Canal – well he’ll be getting not only extra love from us and his fans but extra servings of his favorite menu items. He’s always been a star; may he sparkle and shine even brighter for decades to come. We’ll miss you, little guy.
But Canal’s not the only one with a ticket to ride. Recently admitted loggerhead “Sepia,” along with re-admitted aquanaut green “Tracy Dyson” secured a spot on a boat headed to the deep blue and were released offshore on Monday, May 25th. The water had warmed enough for them to readily acclimate, and we’re hoping that Tracy Dyson has learned her lesson about hanging around inshore waters in the winter. Two times a cold-stun was not fun for her or us!
Our tour schedule is changing for May. We will be open on Sunday, May 1 from Noon – 2 PM, but due to private events and Memorial Day weekend that will be the only Sunday in May for public tours. Going forward in May: tours will be Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 11 AM – 1 PM. Tickets MUST be purchased in advance through our website: www.seaturtlehospital.org. Select the date, time and the number of guests in your party and purchase your tickets. We limit the number of guests for each time to make the experience more enjoyable and to continue our commitment to keep you and our staff safe as we work our way through Covid. Transmission rates in NC are currently low so we are not requiring masks during your visit. Sorry, but we are not able to accommodate walk-ups for tours once we sell out for the day. Please keep in mind that traffic increases exponentially after Memorial Day and it is very likely that you will experience some delays – please plan accordingly. If you are coming only to our gift shop (not for a tour) you can enter through the single door to the left of the main entrance.
Even though sea turtles do not keep calendars we do. The official start of nesting season on Topsail is May 1st and our Topsail Turtle Project volunteers have laced up their sneakers and will be heading out in the wee hours of the morning to look for mama tracks. If you spot anything unusual such as a stranding or nesting, please call our Director of Beach Operations, Terry Meyer at: 910-470-2880. If she is not available, you may call the hospital during operating hours: 910-329-0222 . We will take the information and we will send a trained volunteer to meet you to assess the situation. The State of NC hotline for stranded, sick, and injured turtles is 252-241-7367. The state number picks up 24/7. Please note that all our work with sea turtles, at the hospital and on the beach, is authorized by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, ES Permit 22ST05.