The main focuses this week were the arrivals of new interns and sorting out a new home for our adopted green turtle, now nicknamed Crush (like the Turtle in Finding Nemo).
The question to which aquarium would be better suited to Crush’s needs was somewhat abandoned when the animal still hadn’t eaten by the second weekend and showed no signs whatsoever of recovery. To the turtle’s luck, SAMPLA director Enrico, against others’ opinions, never lost faith and a detour was worked into an airport trip for one of the leaving SAMPLA interns, and early Monday morning, Crush embarked on the long journey to Port Elizabeth’s Bayworld aquarium.
Bayworld was the perfect place for the young thing as Dylan, who works in what could be called the ‘recovery unit’ of the facility, had been successfully nursing another green turtle with the exact same condition, and was looking forward to releasing her. This was great news for Crush to have experienced people at his bedside caring for him (or her, too young to be determined). It was explained that with quick thermocline changes, bacteria in the digestive system can become overactive and create an air bubble within the shell, debilitating animals to dive, or feed, and naturally they would not recover in the wild.
It is doing well now, and looking forward to a speedy recovery.
Thanks Freyja and Naomi…
The rest of the week was a jam-packed week for the SAMPLA interns. In fact two new interns, Amy and Riley, were fast welcomed into the house with chumming trips, a twenty-four hour seal survey, aquarium maintenance, a Halloween fundraiser, and a weekend of filming for a documentary.
Seal survey started off with the appearance of Big Rosie, a shark that is easily 4.5 meters if not longer. Throughout the night the interns counted incoming and outgoing seals, and were all mesmerized by the beauty of the bioluminescent trails left in the water as the seals swam past the boat. Some were even lucky enough to spot the shape of a shark lit up by this same bioluminescence. A couple of hours after the sun rose over the horizon, the interns began taking shifts watching the seals from the top balcony of the Dias Hotel. In the span of a few hours, interns witnessed three predation attempts, including one successful predation. The seal survey finished in time for the interns to organize matching “Team Zissou” costumes and head to the Halloween fundraiser, benefiting the Mossel Bay Shark and Ray Aquarium.
Saturday and Sunday morning five of the interns woke up early to help out with the History Channel documentary film shoot. While the days were long, it was exciting for everyone involved. Many members of the film crew had never seen great white sharks before, so you can imagine their reaction when they witnessed a successful predation within forty meters of the boat. A pod of common dolphins and two southern right whales showed up, but the great whites were always the biggest stars with multiple shark breaches throughout the first day of filming and a second predation close to Cheetah on Sunday. Two of the SAMPLA interns, Beverly and Fabrice, managed to catch this second predation on video and in photographs. The documentary will be aired in March of 2009 on the History Channel in the United States and everyone is very eager to see which SAMPLA cameos make the final cut.