Turtle-y Awesome! #NatureDoodlewash

Meet Alpha, a loggerhead turtle that was nursed back to health at The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center, first housed on Topsail Island.  Alpha was admitted to the Center in August 2013 after ingesting petroleum products that were in the water near her favorite marina.  She was literally on death’s door many times for the first months into her rehab, but after an almost two-year stay at the turtle hospital she was successfully released back into the Atlantic. We visited Alpha and the other patients at the hospital last year, and this painting is based on a photo taken by my daughter-in-law, Maura.

Alpha, the Loggerhead Turtle

Alpha, the Loggerhead Turtle

The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center is staffed by volunteers and run on donations.  Their mission is the protection and watching over of the 26-mile beach of Topsail Island. They are committed to the health and welfare of sea turtle egg sites, hatching of the eggs, caring for sick and injured turtles, eventual release of the turtles back to the ocean, and public education.

Turtle Nest in Surf City, Topsail Island

Turtle Nest on Surf City, Topsail Island

The hospital really is extraordinary, and if you’d like to learn more about how exactly they accomplish their mission daily, here is a link to their website.  http://www.seaturtlehospital.org/ and their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/seaturtlehospital/.

Fortunately we experienced a couple of turtle release events, which are a big deal on Topsail with hundreds of folks gathering to watch and cheer for the turtles as they swiftly make their way down the beach and back to their native waters.  You can almost see the smiles on the little turtle faces.

Large Turtle in a turtle "snuggy," being walked down to the ocean for release

A larger turtle in a turtle “snuggy” being carried to the ocean’s edge.

Even a medium-sized turtle needs a lot of brawn to get him to the ocean's edge.

Even a medium-sized turtle needs a little brawn to get him to the surf.

Smaller turtles are hand carried to the surf.

Smaller turtles are carried individually to the waves.

To feel the pomp and circumstance of a release, here is a link of a drone video taken over the ocean where the turtles were released this year.  You can see firsthand the happiness of the turtles as they flap those flippers back into the ocean for the first time since their rehab. http://www.wwaytv3.com/2016/06/03/drone-video-captures-sea-turtle-release-in-surf-city/

Turtle Release Event, More than 400 people in attendance

Turtle Release Event – More than 400 people in attendance

To learn more about North Carolina sea turtles in general, here is a terrific link explaining nesting habits, hatchlings, plights, and rescues.  http://www.seaturtle.org/groups/ncwrc/overview.html

Thanks to Maura for sharing her photos for this post, and Happy Birthday to Barb, my turtle-loving friend!