Sapphire’s First Month at the Living Coast Discovery Center

Sapphire the Loggerhead Sea Turtle is doing well in her new home at the Living Coast Discovery Center.  In fact, we’re celebrating our first month together this Monday (Oct. 27, 2014). If you want to know how she got here, and why she came, here is a brief look at her trip from Sapphire Key in Florida to the Shark and Ray exhibit at the Living Coast Discovery Center.  Enjoy!

The Turtle Hospital Marathon, Florida.

Sapphire’s journey to San Diego Bay began in 2010.  She was discovered, after a run in with a motorboat propeller, and taken to The Turtle Hospital in Marathon Florida — in the heart of the Keys. She was treated and released but discovered again in 2014.  This time, she was having trouble diving due to air bubbles under her shell and may have been floating on the surface for weeks or even months.

Sapphire's Skirt
Sapphire's Skirt.

After Sapphire’s second rescue in May, 2014, her “skirt” of epitoba (sea grass) was removed, and the Turtle Hospital staff discovered the healed crack from her original propeller encounter — and that the air bubble had gotten bigger. This made it difficult for her to submerge for long periods and dangerous for her to be released back into the wild. The staff at The Turtle Hospital began looking for a permanent home for her and a creative solution to her “bubble butt” problem.

Lindsay Bradshaw on her way to pick up Sapphire
Lindsay Bradshaw.

The Living Coast’s Animal Care manager, Lindsay Bradshaw, was looking for a Loggerhead Sea Turtle at about the time The Turtle Hospital staff solved the flotation problem: weights on Sapphire’s carapace.  Once the Living Coast Discovery Center and The Turtle Hospital found each other, plans to bring Sapphire from the Florida Keys to San Diego Bay began.  Those plans included hotel accommodations, tank space and, of course, FedEx.  Who else are you going to call for a special — free — chartered flight for Sapphire and her handlers?

Sapphire’s Journey

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Sapphire's final check-up.

Sapphire begins tweeting from @Sapphiredup
Sapphire is readied for her trip to San Diego.
Crew shoots video and stills at The Turtle Hospital
News breaks in Florida and is picked up by the Associated Press

Thursday, September 25, 2014

7:00 a.m. EST: Sapphire arrives at FedEx ramp in Miami Florida with her are Bette Zirkelbach, Turtle Hospital manager and Richie Moretti, Turtle Hospital director
9:00 a.m. EST: Flight 619 departs MIA
10:11 a.m. CST: Flight 619 arrives in Memphis
3:20 p.m. CST: Flight 906 departs Memphis
4:57 p.m. PDT: Flight 906 arrives San Diego, Lindsay Bradshaw with Living Coast Discovery Center meets Sapphire at the ramp
Sapphire travels from Lindberg Field to the Living Coast Discovery Center

TV star Sapphire.

6:00 p.m. PDT: Van arrival. KUSI News is on hand
Sapphire gets acclimated to San Diego in her own tank

Friday, September 26, 2014

Sapphire in her new home.
Sapphire at home.


Sapphire is moved into Shark and Ray Encounter tank at Living Coast Discovery Center

Saturday, September 27, 2014

8:00 a.m. PDT: Living Coast Media Preview
10:00 a.m. PDT Sapphire meets her adoring public

Monday, October 27, 2014

Sapphire celebrates one month in San Diego!

Coming Soon! Video of Sapphire in her new home!  Until then, here are a few more photos of our latest jewel, Sapphire, and her journey to the Living Coast..