There’s a fun island event going on this evening that benefits a great cause: the beloved loggerhead turtle.
As I covered in a recent blog about the Turtle Trek, the loggerhead turtle is an iconic Lowcountry resident. They lay eggs on the sands of the Isle of Palms and other area beaches each summer.
Though an adult loggerhead turtle reach several hundred pounds and are agile swimmers, these majestic giants are surprisingly vulnerable.
It doesn’t come as much of a surprise that many of the threats to their wellbeing are manmade.
The main threats to the loggerhead turtle include:
- Boat/propeller strikes;
- Ingestion of garbage or plastic bags (which resemble jellyfish floating at sea);
- Disruption of their nests by people or pets;
- Human development encroaching on their breeding grounds;
- Light pollution that confuses the little hatchlings as they leave the nest and try to make their way out of the sand dunes toward the ocean.
The last one is why we frequently remind folks staying here about “Lights out for Loggerheads.” Basically all homes that are oceanfront should turn off all exterior lights after dark from May through October. Any light visible from the beach – even cell phones – is a no-no.
Sea Turtle Hospital to the rescue!
Luckily, the South Carolina Aquarium has a wonderful Sea Turtle Hospital that rehabilitates injured or sick turtles. It recently underwent a massive renovation and upgrade and is now known as the Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery Exhibit. It’s a state-of-the-art facility with the best medical care, an exercise pool and a CT scanner. Special windows allow visitors to observe the sea turtle treatments without any disruption in their important work.
The Aquarium and its hospital, located downtown, is a terrific destination for all ages, especially kids. There are countless fun exhibits, activities and tours designed just for them.
Since its start many years ago, the turtle hospital has nursed back to health hundreds of specimens of the loggerhead turtle (both adult and juvenile) as well as other sea turtles like Kemps ridley, green and hybrid.
When turtles are released back into the ocean after having been at the hospital, it’s become a hugely popular celebratory event. These loggerhead turtle releases often take place on local barrier islands – either Folly or the IOP. Here on the Isle, they are usually done at the Isle of Palms County Park.
Crowds line a large cordoned-off section of the beach well in advance. Aquarium staff and turtle team volunteers hoist the turtles off the truck. They usher them down toward the water as people cheer wildly and take photos. It is a definite feel-good event, and something for all ages.
Come Jammin’ for Jammer
Tonight (Oct. 2nd) from 7:00 till 10:00, The Windjammer on the Isle of Palms will host its very popular and fun fundraiser to support the turtle hospital. This is the sixth annual one they’ve done.
The event was created in honor of Jammer, a loggerhead who was rescued near the Windjammer in April of 2011. He was lovingly treated and brought back to life and health at the hospital. Jammer was released back into the ocean a year later.
Here is more about Jammer. This was written by Mary Pringle, turtle team member and friend to wildlife of all kinds, in the Island Eye News a while back:
“For those of you who are not familiar with Jammer’s story, he washed ashore near death, suffering from debilitated turtle syndrome, and was taken to the South Carolina Aquarium’s Turtle Hospital. After receiving excellent care there, he was released in May of 2012 at the Isle of Palms County Park, near where he was rescued.
The before and after photos did not seem to show the same loggerhead. The healthy, robust sea turtle carried for release by Isle of Palms Fire Department Chief Ann Graham and Windjammer co owner Bobby Ross was strong and ready for a new chance at survival.”
At Jammin’ for Jammer, there will be plenty of live music by Sweetgrass and No Shoes Allowed. There will be tons of great food from many favorite area restaurants.
Food will be provided by:
- The Windjammer (obviously)
- Morgan Creek Grill
- Saltworks Dockside Deli
- The Boathouse at Breach Inlet
- Acme Lowcountry Kitchen
- Coconut Joe’s
- Luke ‘n Ollie’s Pizzeria
- The Dinghy
- Long Island Café
- Banana Cabana
- Sea Biscuit Café
- Café Paname
- New York Butcher Shoppe
- Mex 1 Coastal Cantina
- Long Point Grill
There will also be a silent auction with great items like art, jewelry, outdoor items, kitchen items, home décor, even a ukulele with sea turtles on it. They’re also raffling a special handmade quilt that’s all about the loggerheads.
The suggested donation is $20, and tickets will be available at the door. There will be a cash bar. All proceeds go to the Sea Turtle Hospital to help others like Jammer get healthy again and get back into the wild, where they belong. An area of particular support is the ongoing genetics research project involving the local Island Turtle Team.
The Windjammer is located at 10th Avenue and Ocean Boulevard on the IOP. It is an island institution. Here’s more about the event from their website.
Here’s the whole scoop from the Island Eye News.
So be a part of helping this gorgeous gentle giant of the sea, the loggerhead turtle. And remember, when you are looking for luxury beach house rentals SC, to give Exclusive Properties a call. We’ll put you in the perfect one.
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger