The name sounds impressive, doesn't it: The Loggerhead Marinelife
Pass it by on Federal Highway in Juno Beach, FL, and it looks
impressive, too, with its heavy landscaping and tall windows
reflecting the Florida sun.
The literature tells an impressive tale: The center sits adjacent to
one of the most heavily nested sea turtle beaches in the world. Sick
and injured sea turtles rescued from the Atlantic receive life-saving
surgeries and medical treatment at the center's hospital. The turtles
recuperate under a watchful public eye. Which means we, the public,
are welcome to come in and visit them.
I'm impressed. And excited to visit the center.
We arrive when the center opens at 10 a.m. and already lots
of kids mill about, getting their pictures taken in front of sea
turtle statuary or digging through piles of sea shells.
Oh, I see, there's a storytelling event at 10:30 ... that's why all
A volunteer docent, of sorts, turns us in the right direction to weave
through a museum/education center to learn about the turtles, the
other sea life off the coast and the endangered mangrove eco-system.
We read every word, observe every object. It takes all of 5 minutes to
absorb the museum/education center.
That was quick.
But, I'm excited to visit the patients.
Well, out on the side patio are a half dozen sea turtle "hospital
beds," circular tanks about 5 feet across and 4 feet deep, and a
few oblong, shallower beds. Nearby signs tell the patient's stories:
A heavy fish hook pierced Libby's tongue.
Gideon can't sink. He bobs around the water's surface like a fishing
Ichabod, shown above, suffers from lots of maladies, including
Barnacle Bill Syndrome (which means when he came to the hospital, he
was underweight, listless and covered in barnacles.)
There are about 10 patients in all. We visit each one, I snap pictures
(lots of them) and we prepare to leave.
That's when I notice the storytime has yet to being. Parents and
grandparents struggle to entertain the waiting tots.
We've been at the center barely 20 minutes. And our visit is ending.
What did I expect? More, I guess. Just more.