Monday, January 2, 2012

The Turtle Hospital

Happy New Year! Welcome back!

Today I am going to talk about something a little different.  This isn’t going to be one of the typical shopping sites/stores/companies. There is some shopping available, but it isn’t its primary purpose.

A few years ago my husband and I got married in the Florida Keys. While we were there we decided to stop at the Turtle Hospital in Marathon Key. He likes sea turtles and we are both SCUBA divers and love the water and MOST things in it. *I HATE jellyfish…I don’t care if they have stingers or not.

And this brings me to a pretty good story for you. We were on a sunset cruise with all of our friends and family that came with us for the wedding.

 A bunch of us decided to take the snorkeling option along with the cruise and were heading out to check out the area. A bunch of us were in a group when all of a sudden I saw a jellyfish. It wasn’t a HUGE one per say…and it was whitish-clear. And I MIGHT not have seen any tentacles on it either…

BUT that didn’t stop me from yelling “JELLYFISH! JELLYFISH! JELLYFISH!” into my snorkel repeatedly and making an Olympic dash back to the boat.  (As a diver one of the first things you are taught other than to always breathe, is to NEVER take your snorkel or regulator out of your mouth when you are in the water.)  

As I was getting back onto the boat, the crew was waiting for me – I guess they heard the yelling and saw the flash across the water (being me). They asked what I saw and I told them a jellyfish. They asked what it looked like and I told them. 

At this point they tell me that the whitish-clear ones with no tentacles don’t sting. Nice of them to tell me that then!

So anyway…back to the turtles.

The Turtle Hospital is a pretty amazing place.

There is so much information on their site - be sure to check it out! They have the stories about all of the turtles that they are currently caring for, and you can take a virtual tour of the facility.

There are no federal agencies that rehabilitate sick or injured sea turtles, which is pretty sad/scary considering all 7 species are currently on the endangered species list.

“The Turtle Hospital was opened in Marathon, Florida in 1986 to meet this need. The hospital has four main goals:
·         (1) Rehabilitate sick or injured sea turtles and return them to the wild.
·         (2) Educate the public through outreach programs.
·         (3) Conduct and assist with sea turtle research in conjunction with state universities.
·         (4) Work for environmental legislation to make the coast and water safe for sea turtles.”

Many of the injured turtles can be rehabbed and released, but without this hospital many of them would have never had a chance. There is such an abundance of dangers to the turtles in the oceans that many of us do not think of – fishing line, being hit by boats and their propellers, plastic rings from soda cans, plastic bags, trash in general, and of course there are natural issues that arise too.

*This was one of the turtles that we saw at the hospital. He was definitely cheesing for the camera!
How can we let these guys disappear?

“We are a completely non-profit organization, so all proceeds from your purchase go straight to the care of our turtles. Thank you so much for your support. Be sure to check out the hospital website for more information on the facility, our patients, and to reserve a future visit.”

The facility used to be a hotel, has a huge saltwater pool that is attached to the ocean, and many large individual pools (think of kiddie swimming pools) to house the sick turtles.

There are many different things that you buy from their store. They have t-shirts, sweatshirts, turtle ornaments, books, jewelry, and more. You can even adopt a turtle and they will send you information about the one you adopted.

*Turtle Hospital t-shirt 

*Baby turtle that was at the hospital. He was probably small enough to fit in one hand.  Unfortunately he was only able to swim in circles so it wasn’t safe for him to be released into the ocean.

Please – next time you are in the Keys, make an appointment to stop in to check out the facility. 
Or if you are interested in learning more or know someone that would appreciate a gift that supports the turtles, check out their site. 
They will appreciate it too! 

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