Monday, March 16, 2015

Day 3: Baes in the Bays

Day 3 was an eventful and fun day! Us (Nicole and Dahlia), Jess, and Anna Duh got up early this morning to start their day with a sunrise over the beach. It was so pretty the pictures, barely capture the beauty of it. Next, it was onto the turtle hospital to put us volunteers to work. Volunteers were divided into three groups, with one in the sick turtle bay,one in turtle bay, and one in isolation bay. I (Nicole) got to work in sick turtle bay today, and it was probably my favorite part of the week so far. I spent the morning cleaning the tanks and the turtles with two other students, Zach and Anna D. Before each turtle’s tank was cleaned and bathed the volunteers would inform myself and the other students where the turtle came from, and how they got to be in sick bay. It was really interesting to learn each turtle’s story, and what the volunteers were doing at the hospital to help the turtle’s heal. It was a privilege to be able to bathe the turtles and to be able to rub their back to calm them down. Also, we got to see firsthand the different treatments the turtles were undergoing. Some were put in the rehab pool, and others were treated with honey to heal their wounds. The tip of the iceberg was getting the opportunity to prepare vegetables and feed them to the green sea turtles. One of the turtles, Simon, was so happy that when the volunteer was scratching his back he would wiggle, and do a little dance.

Jess and I (Dahlia) had a really special experience working in Isolation Bay with two turtles named Masonboro and Lore. Unfortunately, these turtles are quarantined due to a condition they have called fibropapilloma. Fibropapillomatosis (FP) is a disease specific to sea turtles (Zach has affectionately named this condition ‘Terpes’). The condition is characterized by benign epithelial tumours on the surface of their skin, and is contagious to other turtles, which is why they have to be isolated. Masonboro had one on his flipper and Lore had one on the back of his neck; while we were cleaning their tank we got to apply medicine called benzidine to the affected areas. Although it was a little challenging trying not to cross contaminate the turtle equipment, the volunteer Dorothy that we worked with was really sweet, and she let us do a hot of hands on work by cleaning the turtles shells and their tanks.

Later on in the day we took a walk on the beach to do a trash pickup. We multitasked as we enjoyed the wonderful weather while picking up any leftover trash on the beach. To our pleasant surprise, we hardly found any! Some of the things we did find were peculiar and not expected. For example, we found bricks, balloons, and a shotgun shell.  Maybe it’s just the off-season, but the citizens of Topsail Beach are really good about not littering. We split up into two groups and each walked a mile on different directions and picked up trash along the way. All of us having been trying to find sea glass (especially Mitch), but only Boots and Anna W. have been successful so far.

After failing to find an open place to eat ice cream, Anna W. and Anna D. cooked a wonderful dinner full of beans, rice, and chicken (basically homemade chipotle- YUM). Reflection had everyone laughing as we put on skits illustrating the importance of the components of an alternative spring break. Pre-trip prepares the students for what they are going to encounter and learn during the week. The service entails the core of the trip to ensure that our trip is worthwhile and with purpose. Reflection may not appeal to a lot of people but it is essential as part of this experience. Reflection puts all the thoughts together and clarifies what happened during the day, and really allows us to get some fulfillment by thinking about the events that occurred that day. It allows us to look back and take all of the information we learned for the day, and apply it in the future. The goal of this trip is not just to volunteer for a week, but to take this knowledge we are learning through service, and spread it for the rest of our lives.

We’re so excited for the necropsy tomorrow, and for more work with the turtles!

Nicole Scott and Dahlia Kronfli (see below for some ballin pics Dahlia took)

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