Thursday, September 24, 2009

no raccoons, no seagulls, no computer

Today the raccoons left!! That is a good thing (no matter how cute they were) because now we don't have to clean their stinky mess two times a day and now we won't have to worry about contaminating seals. Also, yesterday a group (names were picked from a hat to see who would go and I wasn't one of the ones chosen) went out on a boat release because two of the seals that were to be released and both of our seagulls all like humans way too much! Vivian and Mona Lisa were the two seals to go and we just called the seagulls "Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum" because of their silliness, but they didn't have names. Apparently the release went really well and they all took off without looking back.

I still haven't gotten the situation with my computer figured out yet, mostly because I have limited time off and the times that I do get free rarely are during hours that I can try anything. Besides, I just have to contact this one guy that's on the island, which I did twice today but both times got his answering machine (I hope this doesn't turn out to be like calling the horse lady cause I ALWAYS got her machine and NEVER once was I able to talk to her). Anyway, so I guess I will see what this guy things when and if I can get him to look at my computer (or at least listen to what's wrong). I might have to make a run into Victoria to get it fixed, but even then that won't be for at least another week cause I could only do that one my day off and that only comes once a week. Tomorrow is my day off, but I am sticking around the island because 1) I don't feel like taking any trips right now, and 2) we are preparing to have a "cabin crawl" tomorrow night. We're all making some Mexican dishes and each person (or people) at each cabin will have a different food and drink item. :) It should be really fun, I'm looking forward to it. It helps with all of the alcohol that I have the morning after off too. :P Tee-hee. So, long story short, I have no idea when I'll have my computer back, which sadly makes working on the presentation for this internship (for credit) difficult, and I AGAIN can't put up any more pics. Once I finally get my camera battery then my computer goes on me!! Unbelievable!! Saff has been really nice and has let me use her computer for private conversations with family and David, so that's been nice, otherwise I use the communal computer in the kitchen, but it's often busy and noisy there.

On another note, I got to help doing fecals today (testing fecal samples of seals). Wild seals are very susceptible to different nematodes, but there is at least one that can be deadly, the Otostrongylus tapeworm. Fish are the hosts, and so when seals in infected fish, which is often (however scientists don't know exactly which type of fish carry the parasite), they move to the lungs of the seals. They are dangerous mainly to unhealthy, young seals, which is why we have to keep a look out for them in seals that have recently come in. It's only something to look for in seals that have already been feeding in the wild before they came to us, so Calipto was too young, so we don't have to search her fecies.

Well, I guess that's all for today! When I get my computer up and running again (HOPEFULLY!!) then you'll know immediately and I can post pics again... again!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

late comings

My posts might take a while to come for a bit now as I have just recently had computer issues. My computer screen has gone black and so now I have to try and get that fixed! I am really annoyed and sad, cause now talking to people is much more difficult and I am not able to keep up my journal that I need to keep for credit (I'll have to do writing I suppose) as well as work on my powerpoint that I need to do for this internship for credit. I might have to go into Victoria to get it fixed, and I REALLY hope that they're able to do so!! If not I will be immensely sad. Anyway, I am borrowing a friend's computer right now so I could Skype with David and Seth tonight in private (as opposed to using the communal computer, which is in the kitchen, which is where we do all of our cooking and hanging out and so it is quite busy and loud there. Anyway.

We had another spur of the moment seal release today, Papyrus and Libertine left, and they took their time leaving the shore. :P We're also going to all be placed in a lottery to see who gets to go out to do a boat release as two of our seals are about ready but they are WAY too friendly and like people WAY too much, so would never leave the beach if we let them go on it. I hope that I get to do that, it would be really neat!

I also just got over (am on the tail end of it) of being sick (stomach wise), which wasn't too bad, but there were trips taken to the bathroom more often than I would have liked. I am very glad that I am pretty much over that now. Now much else to tell now, things are slowing down here a lot. We'll be having 4 of our interns leaving in the next week, so it'll just be three of us left! Anyway, I'm off to Skype with David, more later. :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

more pics

Days off with David and pictures!!

My two days off with David were great. He couldn't get here until 1:30 on Friday cause of having to take ferries etc, but we had a great one and a half days. Every place we ate was AMAZING food!! We walked around Ganges, we camped at an amazing place in Ruckle Park, and we got to go kayaking by ourselves at sunset!! It was a great time! I just hated to say goodbye to him again. We plan on meeting up in Victoria the week of our 3rd year anniversary (the week of October 6th), so it'll just be a few weeks until then, so not too long.

Yesterday we got a new seal in that is now named Clearview, and tonight another came in and her name is Alexandria. Hopefully they survive cause we haven't had much luck with the past three. Now I will put up some pics now that I finally have my camera battery! On Sunday we released 4 seals, one of which (Monaco) took a bit of time leaving, so kind of got left behind by the other three, but I hope they met up later!

The dots on their heads is to tell us who is who, the seal with a pink spot is Fontloon, the one on the beach with Monaco on his release (I got to open his kennel door). The sunset pics are David and I on our kayak trip (2.5 hours) out to Chocolate beach and back.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Island Wildlife Natural Care Centre

I just though I should put the website for the place I'm at up in case anyone would like to check it out. :)

Vet school

I just realized that some of you (my readers) may not know that I have been accepted to vet school in Perth Australia!! I will be starting in Feb 2011. I have to get one more class done before I go, so will be taking that at U of I next fall (yes, one more semester at U of I, and I thought I was done). :P I'm glad though, then I get to see people there one more time. :) My new Uni is called Murdoch University. :) I am very excited. David plans on applying to the University of Western Australia to do his PhD in linguistics (it's just across the river from Murdoch). :) It'll be a big move, but it will be a fun adventure I think.

The workout and then freedom

Today we weighed all of the seals in Pool 4, which is the pool we put all seals in last (they graduate up to this level) and so here is where they gain all the rest of their weight before they are released. We try and release seals when they are at least 60 lbs, so most of these are between 50 and 70 lbs. Now, I have to get all geared up in fisherman pants, a rain coat and wellies. To weight these buggers we have three people weighing and one writing down the weights. They drain the tank, and so one person (me in this case) gets down there and wrangles a seal into a net, and then lift the seal up to the other two people (with their help). They then attach the net to hooks on a dangling scale and take the measurement. The seal is then let back down into the empty pool and the whole process starts again (until they're all weighed). :) So, you can imagine, lifting 50-70 lbs about 10 times up and down is a pretty good work out. :P I enjoyed it though. They are so damn cute I can't stand it! They of course are not supposed to be friendly and like people (that's the hope) but they are anyway. There is one seal in pool 4 that is really bad (friendly) named Vivian. Every time I scoop for extra fish in their pool with the net she always chases it and bites it or sits in it (which at first is cute, but quickly becomes aggravating), and when I was cleaning the deck this morning she came up and sat next to me the whole time. And of course, when I move she follows. When I was in the pool clearing the fish from the drain so it could continue to drain the pool, while the other seals tried to see what I was doing and occasionally sitting on the pool and biting my pants, she was constantly getting in my face (luckily she's friendly and doesn't bite) and I guess thinking she was "helping" but wasn't. She's so cute, she's got a little green spot (they all have colors on their heads to distinguish who's who), but she really shouldn't be so nice, that's not good criteria for releasing.
Anyway, after weighing we found that 4 were well over 60 lbs, so they will be released on Sunday!! It was going to be Saturday, which would have been great cause then David could have gone too, but for one reason or another they had to change it. That brings me to my next point, DAVID'S COMING IN THE MORNING!! We are both a bit worried about him being able to catch his ferry (he's taking one ferry from Anacortes to Sidney, then has to catch a bus from Sidney 5 km to Swartz Bay Ferry). Technically he should have enough time, but that depends if his ferry is on time and if he can walk to the bus stop in good time, and then if the bus is on time! I am hoping all goes well, cause if he can't catch the 11:00 ferry, the next one isn't until 1:00, which would suck (for him cause he's got to wait, and for both of us cause I only have 2 days off... precious time!). Anyway, we should have a good time, I have a kayak trip planned and have been trying to get a hold of the people that give horse rides up Mt. Maxwell, but every time I've called so far I've gotten an answering machine (and as I don't really have a good # to give them I have to just keep calling).
On one more note, we had 6 seals in quarantine (so the smallest ones) and we moved all but 2 out into pool 1 today!! I even got to learn how to pick one up and I carried him (Princeton... we call him Prince) to his new home. He's one of my favorites, he makes the cutest noises (which sound like he's blowing bubbles) and he's nice. I tube fed three seals again today with Marielle (the vet) overseeing (I needed a few more times being watched before she would let me do it on my own), and I felt really good cause she had nothing to say, all she said was "C'est parfait" (she's French), which means, perfect. :P I felt really good! :) She told me that she's almost never seen anyone learn tubing as fast as I have. :) Well, that's about all for now, can't wait to see David!!

two lives lost, two lives freed

On Monday our new intern (and the last) came; her name is Saffrina. She was my room mate for 2 nights, but then as they had an extra cabin (due to one of the staff having to leave do to some family health problems at home) she moved in there so as to try and let everyone had their own room. I was sad about it at first, cause I've been feeling a little alone, but I am ok with it now. It will be nice to have the whole place to myself.
The same day Saffrina came we got a new little seal in. She got to name him too (appropriate), and she chose the font Bembo (wich ironically is the nickname she has for her sister and hence why she picked that name). Little Bembo was about 1 or 2 months old they think and should have weighed about 30 lbs, but was only 16 lbs. The poor little thing was so thin that you could clearly see his pelvis and you could even SEE his heart beating!! Sadly, he died the next day around 4 PM. On the other hand, we released two of our older seagulls, and that was a neat sight. One seemed to make friends right away and was at home sitting on top of a light pole, the other took a bit to get going, he just was looking at us like "well, now what?". Finally a dog came and so he took off. I didn't see it but we also let our robin and sparrow go, so that's good! One of our Cedar Waxwings are now gone, send off to a man who has more that he's going to release together as they are migrating right now. We don't know what'll happen with the other one we have as he has to grow back his tail feathers before we can let him go, and as they're migrating right now, he might have to stay over winter, which may or may not work well, we'll have to see. Well, I am exhausted so should head to bed. Tonight we went out to eat all as a group, so that was nice. I have been kind of emotional lately too, which is annoying and probably taxing. I get two days off this week!!! Friday and Saturday and so David's coming up and we're planning on kayaking and (if I can get a hold of the people) horse back riding! We were going to try and stay in some cute little cabins, but they're booked, so it's camping for us. :) That'll be good too, that just means that David has to bring our tent and sleeping bags on the ferry with him (and he's walking on). Oh well. :) I am really excited, I know we'll have a blast!!
Ok, off to bed now.

P.S. David will be bringing with him my camera battery and charger so I'll be able to take pics too and thus post them!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009


So I was cleaning a seal named Forte's tub today in quarantine and so I had my hands full. I felt something fall on my chest, and so with my wrists I tried to wipe away the sensation. It went away but I still felt a bit icky. Once I got done with Forte I took the gown off and my gloves and was wiping and looking for what caused the sensation. I was shaking out my shirt etc. and then I felt something on my leg... I looked down and there was a BIG SPIDER there!!! I freaked out and brushed it off (with a slight scream). I thought from the beginning that it might be a spider, which is why I felt so gross, but I didn't think it'd be that big!! I had the jitters for like 30 minutes afterwards... just thinking about how long it was in there and that it had traveled all the way down!! YUCK!!

Anyway, in other news, three more seals got moved to pool 1 today from quarantine! Yay! I also learned how to tube feed a seal today, I might get to try it on an actual seal on Saturday (tomorrow's my day off and I'm spending it in Ganges). I am going to bike to Ganges (about a 20 min bike ride, and very hilly) and then hang out there all day and see what there is to see. :) I am also going to look into kayaking for David and I when he comes up next weekend!! I am very excited for him to come!! Well, that's about it for now. :)


Well, I guess I should should start by saying (even though it's sad) that the seal I named died the night after we brought her in. We're not quite sure the exact reason, but such is life. The same night a lady came in late bringing a baby squirrel that was attacked by her cat, that also died in the night. On a happier note on Monday I started on seals! I have been learning a lot!! I have learned a lot about the sanitary precautions needed (especially in the quarantine area); it's really strict cause they don't want anything passing from one seal to another. One thing that can really take down a large part of a population of seals is worms (nematodes), which has happened at the center before, so they are very careful. You have a gown and gloves that you wear for each seal and when you switch seals you can't touch anything, you take off the gloves and gown and wash your hands then put on the gown and gloves for the next seal you'll work on. Most of the seals are being moved out of quarantine into the pools (they are graduated up pools according to size, so pool 1 is the first, then when they get to pool 4 they are about ready to be set free. There are only 2 seals still being tube fed in quarantine, and one of which is now being force fed (once they are used to tube feeding we start force feeding them because they need to learn the swallowing action, then once they are comfortable with that it's hand feeding, then free feeding.

I have been on seals since Monday, and I don't go back to birds until Tuesday. The other day we got in a juvenile turkey vulture! I got to watch it being tube fed the other day, they make some really scary noises!! I don't know all of the new stuff in birds as of right now, but I'll find out soon enough. :) I did hear that the pelican is getting sent off today (they're going to helicopter to a site and release it there I heard). I am happy for the pelican but sad cause then we won't get to see her anymore. :P Oh well. :) Big news is that we had a two seal release a few days ago!!! It was great! Prima and Nina were their names and they stuck together even after being set free (which I would do too if that was the only other seal around!). They sat there for a while getting their bearings, but then slowly made out into the water.

As far as I go, I've been feeling a bit down lately, and for reasons that I don't really know. I love everyone here, they're great, but I have been finding it hard to completely fit in, which is understandable cause they have all been here together for longer and so are really close. I am sure things are going to change as two of them have already left (one of them this morning) and we got one new person and will get one more, then that'll be it. The new girl, Lauren, was going to be my roommate but now it's going the be the next one. :) I am looking forward to getting a roommate actually cause everyone here lives with at least one other person and I'm off on my own, which I think has also added to the lonely feeling (and of course being away from David again) :) It's really not bad at all, I just think that my mind's making it worse. I am doing much better now though.

In other news, I finally decided to sign up for the Shimongwe Veterinary Experience in South Africa! I sent off my booking info today along with my deposit. There's no turning back now (well, there is, but only if I want to be out my $400 deposit). Now I just have to raise the $!! I also found a job at the Tacoma, WA Point Defiance Zoo and I sent in my application today. I only found out about it last night and the deadline is tomorrow, so I had to act fast!! Anyway, I am going to go enjoy the rest of my split (3 hours off), and I have tomorrow off!! I am going to bike into Ganges and explore. :)