Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Clean up at STI continues. We've spent almost the last week working up at the facility and so far it's including mundane tasks like sweeping, scooping debris out of tanks, nailing old displays back into place. And then occasionally we have only slightly more entertaining tasks like building new shelves or shoveling sand into place behind Gerry's tank. Granted all the work leads to the same outcome and we leave everyday drenched with sweat, stinky and absolutely exhausted. Fortunately the power in my apartment came back on a few days ago so I've spent two lovely nights in the air conditioning listening to music as I fall asleep. The first night, after only about 30 minutes of power, I went to bed in a still warm apartment only to wake in the middle of the night to a sensation I no longer recognized. I was cold. Having a refrigerator, at least recently, seems like an incredible luxury. Disasters like this tend to put things in perspective, even though the tougher camping part, in reality, only lasted a few days.
I want NOTHING more than to go home and take a cold shower so I'll end with a little list of thank yous. Two different days we've had volunteers who brought lunch to everyone working at STI - it was such a generous gesture and was very appreciated. We've had lots of encouragement from people around the city and we periodically have people stopping in to check on progress - also appreciated. SPI and PI have been very generous with all of the locals and we've really benefited from the ice, water and food they were handing out. Today I went to the local clinic where they were giving free tetanus shots - granted the shot hurt and I'll be sore tomorrow, but it was a great way to keep all these hard working people healthy given the conditions. And lastly I want to thank the Port Isabel Library and my librarian. I came in today with a bunch of books that were due the day before the hurricane and were very late, but they are not charging fines for any ones overdue books right now. Thank you thank you to everyone. STI is healing and looking better in part because of all of your help and support, you really do help us push forward.
Tari - Thank you for the offer, but we actually have a couple generators up at STI now so I think we're set.
Connie - We'd love to meet you, I hope you will be able to come down to TX after all.
Chrissy - Thank you for your thoughts! I'm so glad you were able to see STI in all it's glory, it's a bit of mess now.
Appreciate your local librarian.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Make an emergency pack.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Yesterday at work we had a mother and daughter visit us and help out throughout the day. The mother is very passionate about sea turtles and together they traveled from Arizona just to spend a week volunteering at STI. She's also a loyal reader of my blog so we of course get along just beautifully. Anyway work was slow so we spent a lot of time talking with them and learning about other sea turtle experiences around the states. They are fascinating people and it was a spirited and very interesting conversation.
Occasionally we have school groups, boy scout troops, college classes, etc. make special arrangements for a tour at STI, which is great, public education is one of the most important things we do as an organization. So yesterday we had on our schedule a group of 20 people from San Benito. Fabulous. The BIG problem with this however was that they were scheduled from 3:45 to 4:45. We close at 4. Now as interns we work hard all day long and put on a happy face no matter how we really feel, but once the clock hits 3:30 we're getting itchy and counting down the last half hour. So granted when we realized someone, very obviously none of us, had scheduled a group for a time slot after we normally close we were less than thrilled. At 3:30 someone calls in to confirm the time and says they are on their way, which peeved us even more, we were hoping they wouldn’t show. We gave the last tour of the day and closed to the public like we normally do and all six of the interns who were working stood around waiting for the group that was already 20 minutes late. So we’re waiting. And move around a little and wait some more. And go out side to look for a bus and wait some more. Then we let in some other people that pulled up since we were already their waiting. At about 4:35, 50 minutes after the scheduled time, we see a Hummer limo drive by STI, turn on the left blinker and begin to turn around. So granted we are all standing there, jawed dropped thinking “no way, there is absolutely no way” when they awkwardly park outside. Then we all stand there at the entrance and watch as 20 15-year old kids pile out of the limo, all of the girls with up-dos and some of the boys in tux shirts. As it turns out it was quinceañera party, though I’m not sure who thought visiting a sea turtle rescue center to occupying the kids before the party was a good idea. Four of the interns split up the tour to make things easier for us and this group seemed so indifferent to everything that we said that it made everything that much more frustrating. They book a tour for after hours, show up extremely late and then aren’t even interested. We were all so annoyed with the situation that we decided to get together and have a big barbecue for dinner, so the whole crew came over to our house for a potluck and movie night. Of course the instant we left work we were all happier, but it was so nice for all of us to eat together.
I’m on corral duty tonight, though I’m not sure if there are supposed to be babies. Either way it will give me time to catch up on some reading.
The picture is of Angel, the little green we just released, on the boat.
Be suspicious of Hummer limos.
Friday, July 18, 2008
Other than my semi-painful realization that I do actually have to pop my little island bubble and return to the real world I've had a fabulous last few days. One of my close friends from school came into town to visit for a few days so we crammed as much of the SPI experience into his time as possible. We went to Badabing Bagels for lunch, which by the way was fabulous - it was my first time to eat lunch there. And luckily Preston was here for Angel's release, which is always fun and emotional for the whole STI crew. We love going on the dolphin watch and sunset cruise and of course there's nothing quite like watching a little green fly from the boat and disappear into the ocean. Today at work we tagged Angel to prepare for her release and I got to pit tag her and tag her with the metal tag. The little stinker scraped my knuckle, but I figure I hurt her more (those metal tags don't look too pleasant) so we're even. Or close at least. After the release a group of us went to Dirty Al's for fried shrimp (they finally opened again a few days ago), then met up with a few friends from Mexico at Louie's. Of course to top off the full sea turtle adventure we went to the hatchling release this morning followed by a breakfast burrito. It was nice for us to catch up, I've been a bit out of touch with my former life since Spain.
As always work was an escapade. We had a group of librarians and assorted cameramen from SFA to film around STI for a video in a virtual excursion series they are doing for students in their area. They were a lovely group of people who I really enjoyed talking to and they interviewed Jeff and I, taped a tour and some of the morning feeding. It sounded like an incredible project, part of their goal is to inspire young high school students to continue their education, I was excited that we were able to host them at our facility.
Our last tank finally arrived so between tours and other chores I helped Jeff do some of the bolting. It's amazing how much the facility has grown and changed and I can't wait to see all the turtles in their new tanks.
Today is Friday, which means fireworks here on the island. Hopefully I'll still remember when 9:15. My schedule will be interesting for the next week or so, I'm on corral duty this weekend and since we are expecting tons more babies it's looking like I'll be really busy.
These pictures are of super active hatchlings from one of the in situ nests (which means it stayed on the beach rather than incubating in our corral) and the other is of Dave Cromwell with his turtle egg finding dog SPX.
Downsize - materialism is stressful.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
There were a few highlights to my day though. I love the medical part of this job, it pains me to see a turtle flinch when we give an injection, but at the same time I find it so cool to get that experience. We have two turtles right now who are on serious meds for puncture wounds so they get a special soak and ointment everyday as well as fluids and antibiotics. One of those turtles, Roy, also gets an oral medication and we're always surprised by his strength despite the hole on the bottom of his shell. He can't weigh more than 6 or 7 pounds, but it takes four of us to hold his flippers and his head so that someone else can insert the tube and a fourth person can give him the medicine. Our other sick little guy, Todd, is the same size, but much skinnier and so today we began to force feed him in an attempt to put some weight on him. Unlike Roy he hardly fought us at all.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
I think the highlight of my day was a little STI factoid I learned. We get by on the generous donations of our visitors and the public, but there are a few groups and organizations who send very large annual contributions to help us out. So, I assumed that part of these donations we receive every day went to pay for my paycheck. As it turns out the money I use to pay for groceries and rent comes from Bubba Gump. Now granted all I know about the Bubba Gump Corporation is from the movie with Tom Hanks, but I learned that they donate 2 cents from every dinner ordered to Sea Turtle, Inc. and then that money goes to pay the salaries of our interns. What a bizarre connection.
Ok I'm off, I have to wrap our house-warming gift for Adrienne and Tom and get my pancake ingredients together for dinner. Thankfully I'm off tomorrow so I'll be sleeping in late and maybe finishing a book and doing laundry.
These are more of Adrienne's pictures, some more babies and the picture of Fred that will be gracing a postcard soon.
Smile - never doubt how much that can improve someone's day.