Everyone associated with the hospital--from the people who patrol the beach each morning searching for turtle nests and report their findings, to the workers at the hospital, and those who help haul these 200+ pound turtles to the sea for a release--are volunteers. Astounding considering the time and physical demands of their job. During our visit, at least ten people were on duty to give the steady line of visitors a tour of the turtles currently residing in tubs in a room the size of a one-and-a-half car garage. They receive no compensation for this and the tours are free. They ask only for a donation. They also offer attractive logo items in their gift store, the proceeds of which go back to the turtle hospital.
There are currently nine sea turtle nests on Topsail Beach. Nine. All are most likely Loggerhead nests and probably contain about a hundred eggs. Only a few of these turtles will grow to adulthood. If they do, the females will begin returning in about twenty years to lay their own eggs. Unfortunately, boaters and other Samaritans may bring a few of them home before that for treatment for illnesses or injuries.
For more information about the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle hospital including news about the mass release and a chance to watch a patient via the turtle cam, go to www.seaturtlehospital.org/.
For more information about the turtle hospital located at the South Carolina Aquarium, go to www.scaquarium.org/seaturtle/rescue.aspx
And while you're at Topsail, go to the beach.