by Karen Sota
Our turtles welcome you back! We’ll reopen for public tours on a limited schedule beginning Friday, March 4th. Throughout the month of March you can visit us on Fridays and Saturdays from 11 AM – 1 PM.
To book your tour, log on to our website reservations page and follow the prompts. 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. Our southeastern NC counties are still considered high transmission areas and we are requiring masks for everyone except children under 5 years of age – no exceptions.
We have thirty patients on-site, most of them in Sea Turtle Bay completing their recovery and hoping for a ticket to warmer waters. Greens Belle and Rosemary are now sharing a “duplex” tank immediately inside the Turtle Bay doors. After a short territorial dispute they’ve become BTF’s – Best Turtle Friends. We suspect Belle may have an ulterior motive though. Rosemary still receives a small ration of fish with her morning veggies while Belle (who is zaftig, to put it kindly) is served only veggies. We think the reason Belle hangs out by the divider so much is that she’s hoping some fish will accidentally come floating her way. Those big innocent turtle eyes, and big turtle hips can’t fool us.
The turtles still housed in Sick Bay require specialized treatment before they can move to a coveted spot in Turtle Bay. They’re part of our “colors” group, named after Crayola crayons. They all receive daily swims in our therapy pool to facilitate strength and range of motion. Several of them get along quite well and you can see them enjoying their time together. Others, not so much, so they are scheduled for solo swims.
Now for the really exciting announcement: our gift shop has been totally renovated and it’s open for browsing and shopping. And you can visit the gift shop without taking the tour by entering through the single door to the left of our main entrance. We have all of your favorites plus a plethora of gift items, including some from local artisans. And of course, our adoption table is open and ready for you to adopt your favorite turtle from your visit. Take home their photo, adoption certificate and, depending on level of adoption, one of our premium gift shop items. All adoption gift shop proceeds go directly to the care of our patients.
Although the spring weather appears to be trying to get here, we’re still not done with cold-stuns. At this point the turtles are not so much cold as they are severely debilitated from prior cold-stunning. This year it’s seems to have hit the larger loggerheads particularly hard. Please be our extra eyes for spotting for any turtle in distress. Don’t assume a turtle is beyond help because it can’t move. They are stunned motionless. If you spot anything unusual 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 meet you to retrieve the turtle that will then be brought to us for follow-up. 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.