In November 2020, Talitha Noble will be immersing herself in the icy Atlantic ocean to swim from Robben Island to the mainland – a 7,5 km swim through frigid water. This effort will be alongside two other ocean warrior women, all swimming to raise funds for conservation!
Talitha will be undertaking this challenge to raise awareness and funds for sea turtle rescue, in particular for one amazing turtle named Bob. Talitha is a champion of turtle rescue and rehabilitation at the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation and dedicates her days to the rescue and care of these iconic animals. Highlighting the plight of these endangered animals is a massive task (just like swimming from Robben Island to Cape Town), but Talitha and the turtle team are up to the task! But, for this blog, we thought that we would let the ultimate turtle ambassador, Bob, tell his own story…
(Image credit: Devin Trull)
Hi. My name is Bob and for the last 6 years I’ve been living in the I&J Ocean Exhibit at the Two Oceans Aquarium.
When I arrived here, it was because I had washed up, stranded, at De Hoop Nature Reserve. I remember being picked up and taken to a safe place. I also remember that I was in pain – I had been washed up among the rocks and tumbled about quite badly.
The next period of time was very blurry for me, I couldn’t see anything, and I remember hearing the constant sound of voices around me. Later, I found out that the wounds I arrived with were infected and that I had gotten meningitis causing me to go blind, and that the humans I could hear were trying to help me.
The plastic found in Bob’s medical pool, that he had eaten in the ocean (Image credit: Two Oceans Aquarium)
My next memories were seeing shapes again and having a big tummy ache. My carers were shocked when they saw that I eventually made a really big poo! It felt like a relief to me, but I was surprised to find out that my poop was full of plastic. I felt bad about this because I didn’t know I was eating plastic when I was in the ocean. I just saw food that looked yummy floating in the sea – I guess it’s an easy mistake for us turtles to make.
I love my home at the Aquarium. I get delicious fresh veggies every day and the water is always warm, but I do miss my home in the ocean.
One of my main carers, Tali, tells me that they want to take me back to the sea, but they need to make sure I can fend for myself first. Currently this is difficult for me, I need more rehabilitation.
Being at the Aquarium means I meet lots of cool people. Children have done projects on my story, people have come to meet me and often I have fun photoshoots. I also really like the scratches I get when people come to visit me!
Whenever Tali or the other turtle carers talk about me they say I am an ambassador for the oceans, that I teach people about how dangerous plastic is. I like this, I want people to help protect my home and I don’t want other turtles to accidentally eat plastic like I did.
I know that looking after me is expensive. I need fancy doctors and I really like my special lunch every day. But the turtle team say it is okay, they have ideas to help raise money to look after me until I can be released.
Talitha says that she will swim like a turtle for me to raise money! That makes me laugh because Tali is not a turtle and I do not think she can swim as fast as me! But, she says that she is going to swim free in the ocean so that one day I can too.
This makes me an excited turtle!
To support Tali swimming, and my ongoing rehab, visit her GivenGain fundraising campaign and support us both!
(Image credit: Devin Trull)
Hoodwinker sunfish were only recently discovered in 2017, after hiding in plain sight amongst the more commonly known 𝘔𝘰𝘭𝘢 𝘮𝘰𝘭𝘢. So, when one of these rare animals was found washed up near Gansbaai, scientists from Dyer Island Conservation Trust and the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation were alerted and eager to work together to learn more about one of our ocean’s most unusual creatures.
The Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation runs several holiday enrichment courses (known as ‘The Marine Science Academy courses’) for young natural historians with a particular interest in marine topics.
As they progress through the courses and climb the grades, many of them express an interest in pursuing a marine related career. This generally starts off as wanting to be a ‘Marine Biologist’, but further research and guidance through our courses makes them aware of the huge variety of careers on offer. Our courses for Grades 6 to 9 provide a general insight into marine sciences, building up to our Grade Ten ‘Young Biologist’ Course, which provides a good combination of experiential learning as well as the opportunity to volunteer in the aquarium, if they want to.
The Marine Science Academy courses culminate in two five-day academic courses offered to Grade Elevens and Twelves (the latter on special request) who are considering studying Marine Sciences at a tertiary level, one on aspects of Biology and the second on Oceanography.
This year’s Turtle Road Trip was different from past ones, as the team of the Turtle Rescue Programme used the opportunity to conduct in-depth field training with the people and organisations working on the ground monitoring and patrolling our coastline – we might be the people that rehabilitate turtles, but the men and women patrolling the hundreds of kilometers of coastline are the first line in saving a turtle’s life.