Saturday, January 18, 2014

January 11, 2014-Sat.-K-We are back!  Sorry for the lack of posting again.  We have actually been quite busy.  We ended up getting volunteer positions here at Port St. Joe St. Park.  Some other volunteers didn't show up so we filled their slots.  We have the positions until the end of February, but it could extend into March, but we don't know about that at this time.   Also our internet has not been good so  it is really now Jan. 18th, not the 11th!!!

Our duties consist of filling in for the CG hosts on Monday and Tuesday so they have 2 days off.  We have 2 bathhouses to clean and about 60 campsites to make sure are tidy for the next campers and general maintenance of the campground.  On Wed., Thurs., Fri., we are out in the field doing whatever needs doing around the whole park.

This has been an interesting week to start volunteering.  On Monday our first day filling in for the hosts, the high temp. was in the mid 30's and a wind chill of 27!  It was howling a gale here.  We were FREEZING! We got those bathrooms cleaned in record time.   There aren't too many people here this time of year so it there wasn't too much to do.  I headed into town and went to the Goodwill store and found some winter gloves and hats for us to wear!!  The store had  some new hats they were selling for $3.00 and they are not the most attractive, but fashion was not a priority!

That afternoon, we went around and turned on all the taps to drip so they wouldn't freeze overnight.  It got down to 22 that night.  They rent cabins on St. Joe Bay and they had some minor freeze ups that Tom helped them fix on Tuesday. (All the plumbing runs outside underneath the cabins, which are up on stilts because of hurricanes). No big problems, but things they seldom see down here.

One of the park employees has hooked onto Tom for vehicle maintenance so he has changed the oil in all of the vehicles.  I have, with some other volunteers, taken trucks out to pick up the never ending palm fronds that are continuously coming down off the Palmetto trees with all the wind we have been having.

With all of this cold weather they have been having problems with the turtles that live in the bay.  They can go into shock and they can drown.  On Wednesday local volunteers had pulled about 60 turtles out of the water.  The turtles then get sent to Panama City to a facility there where they get rehabbed  and then released back near where they were found.

Thursday was a rainy and drizzly day and there wasn't much for us to do except for Tom who was working on the vehicles.  Just down the beach a few miles we were told that a Beaked whale had beached itself and they needed help.  So I went down along with 2 other volunteers, Bill and Diane, to see how we could help.
They had plenty of help but the woman that was heading things up there said they needed help with locating distressed turtles. I found out later, they had to put the whale down.  It was in very bad shape.  They think he/she was quite old and probably would not have lived if they got it back out in the ocean.

We found the woman who was in charge of it and to make a long story short, the 3 of us ended up going out and rescuing some turtles.  Bill and Diane were in a canoe and I was in a borrowed kayak.  We ended up with 6 turtles!  I had one on my lap and thank goodness they had a canoe because one of the turtles we pulled out was probably 80 pounds!  There was one that we were all worried about.  It just lay there with it's head down and never moved.  The other ones were perking up a bit the longer the they were out of the water.

Diane got some video on her phone and a news crew was at the docks when we got back.  I posted links to both videos below. Our internet the last week has not been good so getting some of this stuff downloaded has been a bit tough.

We were all pretty elated when all was said and done!

Here is the link to the TV story:

And the link to the video:

Hope all is well with everyone and they are surviving the tough weather up north.