Yum! Floating turtle food!

Hmm. My hands smell of turtle food. 
This time the aquarists got the recipe right: the food floated which makes it MUCH easier to feed the babies because you don’t have to hold every single little bit for them to eat. And it wasn’t so tough that they had to wrench at it and struggle to bite through each piece.

It’s too cute. If you try to feed one that’s had enough to eat, it does this little “nope!” gesture,  pushing at your fingers with both it’s flippers and turning it’s head away.

Otto the Turtle

This is Otto. He is huge. He weights about 76kg. When you tap on that little porthole, he comes and checks you out, blocking it with his great big beak.  I tried taking a pic of that but it didn’t come out.

Turtle Progress

Most of the baby turtles that were brought in to the aquarium are doing very well.  On Thursday, a number of them will be flown up to be released on the East Coast, where they are originally from.  Not sure if this little guy will go, he’s still in quarantine, but going strong and eating well.

Little A8 Won’t Eat

It’s easy to forget that animals like turtles are individual beings with their own quirks and peculiarities.  For example, unlike most of the other turtles in rehab, this little guy, in quarantine tank A8, refuses to eat.

I spent extra long with him today, trying to persuade him to eat but in the end it was clearly just stressing him out too much. I’m not sure how much longer he will live if he doesn’t take in any food, but if he refuses to eat there’s little we can do.

Meet Bob

This is Bob. He was found injured and with a belly full of plastic and balloons. It’s a dramatic story, and you can read about it here, ( it has a happy ending!)

I saw Bob the green turtle just the other day, in a bin on the aquarium roof. This is a picture I took of him. He’s improved so much since he was found .  Lovely creature.


Meet “M” and “N”. They are inside, in one of the many quarantine tanks where the weaker turtles are being kept for observation.
See that little triangular bit taken out of the food I’m holding? That’s the profile of their little mouths. N, in particular, made valiant attempts at clipping pieces out of my hand. Luckily his jaws are not nearly strong enough!

I now have a sore back from crouching over tanks all day long, persuading baby turtles to eat.  Most of them did, but some of the wilder ones that have recently arrived were not interested.

Weighing the babies

Today, volunteer duty at the Two Oceans was unusually interesting: weighing and feeding just under 200 baby turtles.

These little guys were washed up on our Cape Town beaches, far from the warm Indian Ocean currents where they belong. They are all starving, suffering from hypothermia and dehydration and various other ailments as a result of their traumatic experience.

If they survive and grow big and strong they’ll be taken back up to their home waters and released. But first they must put on some weight!

Here are some more pictures of the baby turtles.  Apparently, although there are little ones found on our beaches every year, there’s never been so many as there are this year. Already nearly 200 and still more expected.  
These ones are teeny tiny, and can fit in the palm of your hand. 
They are numbered so that we can keep track of how they are doing. Every day, they get weighed, and the ones that are not doing so well are moved in to their own little quarantine tank.  The rest get to hang out together in bigger tanks.

Today there was one that died, poor little guy, and one that’s refused to eat for two days now. The others are gulping their food down like real little troupers.  In fact, you have to watch it or they will nip at your fingers!

This is what we feed them. Doesn’t it look good? 🙂  A pureed mix of clam, pilchard, and other seafood, set in gelatin.  Has quite a niff to it, but the babies love it.

Wolf Logic is published!

At long last,  Wolf Logic is available for sale on Amazon.  Wolf Logic  is part of the two book series that starts with Crooks & Straights. These are fantasy novels set in an alternate version of contemporary South Africa where magic is real and magical creatures live and work among the rest of us.



For those of you who don’t have the first book yet, here is the link to Crooks & Straights.  

The Swan Drawing

This might be my final illustration for Wolf Logic.  I’ve not posted all the illustrations on here…got to save some surprises for the book itself!


Insects and Squid: More Wolf Logic drawings

Here are some more illustrations-in-progress for my book Wolf Logic.  These really are unfinished!

This one is of a “lacefester” which is a creature that appears early in the story. Not very dangerous, but better left alone. It has the ability to create a mesmerizing hologram between its antennae, to distract potential enemies.  It’s much sought after for the powders and talismans that can be made from its dried body, so there aren’t that many of them around any more.


Gia spends a lot of time cutting up squid in this story. So I had to draw that too, of course:


Illustrations in progress for Wolf Logic

I’ve finished writing Wolf Logic.  (Or I hope I have, I’m still waiting for some feedback from my critique partners so we’ll see what happens then!)

In the meantime, I’ve started on the drawings for the book.  Here are some I’ve already shared, but redrawn.  Billy and Spyker:

Billy is a big guy, but very gentle, generous, and good natured. He’s not quite human, having a bit of bear in him. He loves surfing, helping his friend Spyker to create street art, and he funds this by selling illicit and stolen magical technology.  He’s not the most responsible of people, but he has a warm heart.



Spyker is not as easy to get on with as Billy is, and I suspect Billy is his only friend.  He is an artist, creating magnificent graffiti pieces that Billy enhances with lighting and other electronic flourishes.  Spyker can climb like a gecko, and has an affinity for electricity – he can shock you with a pinch. He’s not very reliable, and cares only for himself.  But you can get on his good side by admiring his artwork.


Turtles big and small

I skived off from the perpetual squid-cutting duties to go and watch the turtles being fed.  Up on top of the Two Oceans aquarium, on the roof, is the quarantine area where sick animals and new arrivals are kept.  But these are by far the most charming.  A whole row of tanks, each one with a baby turtle flailing around inside it signalling “feed me!” with their flippers.

These little guys were rescued, found washed up on the beaches here in Cape Town. They are from the warmer east coast and got swept here into our cold waters where they usually die of hypothermia, or drown, unless they are rescued.  They are being kept here until they are big and strong and healthy enough to be released again.


A little further on, in a big drum covered over with netting is this:


This is Otto, a rescued hawskbill turtle who was found washed up and dying at Yzerfontein.  The photo doesn’t really convey how impressive she is.  She’s a big girl, and she looks as though she’s doing really well now.

In case you are interested:

The Penguin Gang

They are cute, but their beaks are sharp, and they have plenty of attitude.

I had to reach in behind the tree — one of those rocks is actually a lid on a pipe, which I had to fill with water for the tree.  I felt a little…uncertain about putting my ungloved hand in among these guys.  I hung out with them for a bit, and showed them the hosepipe (Peck! Nip! Not Edible!) and the lid of the pipe (Nip! Peck! Might Be Edible! Nip!) and after a lot of “Hey, nice day, isn’t it? Don’t mind me, I’m just standing here with my hosepipe” they eventually allowed me to get near enough to fill the pipe.


Ghost in the Aquarium

I arrived a little early for my aquarium volunteer shift at the Two Oceans this morning.  Lights were still off.  Quite amazingly spooky, walking around in a dark aquarium.


The baby ragged-tooth sharks were the best, but the tank was so dark the picture I took came out completely black 🙂  So all I’ve got to show is this hungry stingray.

Hermit Crab Rehoming

Yesterday, I saw a hermit crab swop homes.  I’ve never seen that before!  In the picture, he’s back in his original shell.  He tried out the periwinkle shell facing him, for a bit, and then decided it’s not quite to his taste and whipped himself back to his old home again.

We’ll have to find him a large enough shell.  He was clambering up to the curved out-pipe that drains the pond, and fingering it with all his feelers, clearly going “Hmm.  This one has potential, definite potential.”

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