This is a guest post from Aquarium staffer Laura Dill. Laura works in the Development office and helps to raise money to support programs like the Marine Animal Rescue Program. This fall, she expanded her mission to help marine animals to her off-time! Here’s Part Two of her story about volunteering to rescue cold-stunned sea turtles from Cape Cod beaches. [In case you missed it, catch up on Part One here!]
I had plans to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family in New York City, but we would be home on Sunday. Driving back to Boston on Saturday I was exhausted. My first thought was to maybe sleep in on Sunday but my brother-in-law said the turtles need our help. I called for my beach assignment which was Brewster and I found out high tide was 4:15 a.m. So after getting home from NYC at 10 p.m., I woke up at 5:00 a.m. to drive to the Cape. To my happy surprise, my brother-in-law Chris wanted to come along.
Chris, a new and enthusiastic turtle volunteer
We parked at Point of Rocks road and got our gear in hand. I walked the high tide mark and Chris walked where were the waves were hitting the beach. Ten minutes into our search, I found a turtle. This time, its shell was perfect. I yelled there was a turtle and Chris quickly ran over and we placed the towel on the beach and gently placed the turtle on top. We walked it over to my car and placed it into the banana box the Audubon gave me a week earlier. He was safe and out of the elements.
A stranded Kemp's ridley sea turtle just before being rescued from a Cape Cod beach
We walked the rest of the beach we were assigned and went back to the car. We bumped into another volunteer that found 3 more turtles—one green and two Kemp’s ridley sea turtles. We called Dennis from the Audubon and he came to pick up our turtles. He did a little triage and told us three of the four turtles were alive and would likely be sent to the Aquarium's Animal Care Center for treatment. (One of the three turtles the other volunteer found was found upside down, a very bad sign.)
I’m not heading out to the beaches anymore this winter. As the days get even colder, there is a smaller chance turtles will be found alive. But I’m already looking forward to next November so I can walk the Cape Cod beaches and search for turtles again.