Author Archive

Keith Rittmaster’s Fabulous Presentations

Written by Keith_Rittmaster. Posted in Bonehenge; Cetacean rearticulation, Cape Lookout Studies Program, Education

The first one on, Monday evening, September 26, was sponsored by Go-Science’s Science Cafe at McCurdy’s  Restaurant on the Atlantic Beach Causeway.What a great crowd !!! His presentation was about Bonehenge (our sperm whale skeleton re-articulation project) and even though  some of us had heard a presentation about Bonehenge several times, it was still fascinating. He always adds  new pictures and information to each presentation, so I go as often as I can. It was an over flow crowd. The excitement  of moving towards the final 6 months before the display moves to the NC Maritime Museum is amazing when we look back at the whole process.For great information about the sperm whale from the stranding at Cape Lookout January 2004 to its skeleton now hanging in a beautifully dynamic dive in the bonehenge barn click here.bonehenge

The second presentation was Friday evening September 30 at the NC Maritime Museum. It was about his NOAA marine mammal survey cruise this past summer. (There is lots of info about this in  previous posts on this blog). It was so mesmerizing that no one got up to leave when it was over, we just asked questions and kept Keith talking. We learned what ship board life was like; how incredibly good the food was; the science of deep water acoustics; how different data was collected; how funny they looked in their safety suits; the differences inside and outside the under water canyon and much more.What a gift Keith is to our Beaufort community  !!

Post Hurricane Turtle Rescue on Indian Beach, NC

Written by Keith_Rittmaster. Posted in Sea turtles

Story and photographs by guest blogger Kim Merrels. 
Here’s the story of a wayward turtle, named “Squirtle” by his/her rescuers, as told told by Kim Merrels, long time Indian Beach resident and long time Cape Lookout Studies Program Volunteer:
“On Sunday, Sept.4, 2011, several of us were enjoying a beautiful afternoon on Indian Beach.  Jimmy Watkins noticed something crawling up the beach from the ocean.  We thought that it was a baby turtle.

A neighbor, Johnnie Tyson, put 3 little sticks around it, to “mark its spot in the sand.”
I called Keith Rittmaster to find out what to do, and he gave me the name and phone # of Matthew Godfrey, Coordinator of the NC Turtle Project.  When I talked to Matthew, he had me describe it to him, and he determined that it was a Diamondback Terrapin, a land turtle, rather than a sea turtle.  He also said that they live in brackish water like the sound, rather than in the ocean, and suggested if there were any way to return it to the sound, that would be the best thing to do.

I put it into the little bucket, and Reid Watkins, 16, daughter of Jimmy Watkins, who first saw it, drove Walker Woodall, age 6, his aunt, Susan Daniel, and me to Willis Seafood in Salter Path on the Sound to release “Squirtle” .

After letting the owners, Wade and Vesta Willis, know why we were there, Vesta explained that during Hurricane Irene the sound washed over the island to the ocean taking all kinds of critters with it. Walker, with a little help from Susan, released the turtle into the sound.  ‘Squirtle’ dove and surfaced twice, and then swam away — hopefully, to somewhere close to its original home.”  Kim 

Thanks Kim !!!
One of the easiest ways to tell a land turtle from a sea turtle is the land turtle will have clawed feet and the sea turtle will have flippers instead of feet.

Wildlife at Sea – Final Dispatch from Keith Aboard the Gordon Gunter NOAA Marine Mammal Assessment Cruise

Written by Keith_Rittmaster. Posted in Uncategorized

Following are an incredible 3 posters taken by Keith and other scientists of wildlife they saw on their 6 weeks up and down  the north western Atlantic Coast aboard the Gordon Gunter for an annual Marine Mammal Assessment Cruise See link following for a picture of their route.
Remember, you can click on each ‘poster’ below to enlarge it !