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Friday, March 5, 2010

Hey all!

So finally I have some new pictures to share. As I mentioned a few days back, I had the incredible opportunity to go snorkeling with Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald, from Animal Planet's 'Emergency Vets' out of the Alameda East clinic, in Boulder CO. It was so great to meet him, and he was very excited to get in the water with us. Not long into the swim, we spotted our first turtle.
It was a small Hawksbill sea turtle, and we saw that it had not yet been tagged... so the chase began.
(Our group leader Steve, coming up with the turtle.)
Catching them requires the group to coral the turtle and try to get it to settle on the bottom. The person catching swims down directly above it, in hopes of staying in the turtle's blind spot. We then get hold of it by grabbing one hand on the carapace (top shell) behind the head, and one by the tail. We then slowly bring it to the surface and swim it in, at a 45 degree angle, which helps it breathe properly.
(Dr. Fitz was given the turtle to swim in)
When we got to shore, we took measurements, took a blood sample, and tagged the pectoral fins (front flippers).
(Dr. Fitz holds the turtle before the measurements take place.)
(We took several photos from different angles to keep file of each turtle we tag, so if we catch it again later we can compare. Here Troye holds the little guy.)
(The carapace (top of shell) above, and plastron (bottom of shell) below).
(This turtle appeared to be in very healthy shape, but we won't know for sure until we get results back from the blood sample. The vets here look for any kinds of illnesses or diseases etc.)
(Here is what the tag looks like once it's clipped onto the pectoral fin. These are scales without any blood vessels, so the tag can be securely attached without hurting the turtle or causing infection. The numbers on it allow us to keep track of who is who.)
(Our guest of honor releases the turtle back into the water, where it swam away just fine.)
(The proud turtle team group picture.)

Following the turtle dive, Dr. Fitz gave several more lectures through the week, as well as a stand up comedy routine and slide show for the students. It was a ton of fun, he is hilarious and obviously has a great sense of humor and adventure. Both Kater and I really admire this guy, and we're both still beaming from the experience.
To thank him for taking time out of his busy schedule to come out with us, I illustrated a caricature of him with a small note:
He really liked it, we had a good laugh, and he told me that the turtle dive was the best day he's had in the last 15 years! Imagine that. I was pretty nervous to give this to him, but I'm glad I did. He said he was going to frame it and invited Kater and I to visit him in Colorado! Hopefully one day we will get the chance to take him up on it.

Other than that exciting bit of news, everything else has been pretty much business as usual. Kater began her second round of exams this week. She did well on the test Wednesday, and is getting ready for the next one on Monday. I (and all VIPs) now have access to the school's fitness facility, which is really nice. I've been going this week and I feel great. It's nice to be able to exercise in air conditioning... it's just too hot here to do anything during the day, and I like to go in the morning.
I'm still going to the glass studio, making beads for the sea turtle project. I set a schedule of Tuesdays and Thursdays to go in for a few hours. That has been a lot of fun too.

So, that will do it for now I think, thanks for reading the blog, even though the posts have been fewer lately. I enjoy writing it, but sometimes I wait to have a few good pictures to add- I think it makes it more interesting.

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