Lucy’s Treasure Hunt
Ocean Isle Sea Turtle Protection Organization has a unique way to support turtles and take home a nautical treasure.
In days of old, seafarers weaved into their fishing nets many colorful glass balls, which floated atop the waterways and marked the spots of their fishing hauls. They were pretty orbs which sometimes broke loose and wound up on the shore, then into beach homes, transformed into lanterns and sparkling nautical wall hangings. These days, they’re rare to find, but now you can get your very own one-of-a-kind hand-blown dandy while saving sea turtles and having fun playing hide and seek with friends and family.
The Ocean Isle Sea Turtle Protection Organization (OIBSTPO) is always coming up with creative and fun ways to raise funds for supplies to build protective cages around newly laid sea turtle nests and to provide medical aid for sick and injured animals. This time they’ve commissioned Sunset Beach artist Paul Steinke to create replicas of the glass floats, which lucky treasure seekers can win, for free, this October. But first, they must play Lucy’s Treasure Hunt game to get the goods.
How to Play
OIBSTPO’s first annual Lucy’s Treasure Hunt takes place from October 1 to 31. Lucy, the group’s lovely sea turtle mascot, and her band of hearty pirate volunteers will hide clear plastic globes with “winner” certificates inside of them throughout the month. Searchers will only find them in common areas such as the OIB Town Center Park, the land side of public beach accesses and along the land side of sidewalks on 1st Street. They’ll be in plain sight and never off the beaten path, says OIBSTPO’s coordinator, Deb Allen.
When family and friends find their clear orb, they trade it in for one of Steinke’s beautiful glass floats, bedazzled with swirling colors. The globes are orange, blue, green, yellow and tawny, and each one has its own unique swirling pattern. The artist signs each one, and every globe contains an “OIB Sea Turtles 2022 Ocean Isle NC” stamp. They also contain some sand from Ocean Isle Beach, blended within the blown glass, so finders can take a little bit of OIB home with them.
To redeem their find, winners take their discovery to the Museum of Coastal Carolina (21 E. Second Street, Ocean Isle Beach), Thursday to Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm. There, they’ll exchange it for the Lucy’s Treasure Hunt globe that matches the numbered tag in the clear globe. If the museum is closed, call (910) 712-0278 between 10 am and 5pm. Complete a claim form and show a photo ID (required) to claim Lucy’s Treasure. Only one household can claim one treasure per year.
Allen says there is no cost to enter the hunt. Just start looking.
“If you don’t want to search, but would like to buy a souvenir globe, official Lucy’s Treasures are for sale at the museum or at Surf Unlimited Thursday to Monday 10 am to 6 pm at 17 Causeway Drive. Or call (910) 712-0278 between 10 am and 5 pm. This is the way OIBSTPO will make some revenue for our operations. Finders have until November 30 to redeem their free globe.”
The 2022 Sea Turtle Nesting Season
Allen says 2022 has been a busy sea turtle nesting season for Ocean Isle. Sea turtle mothers laid 36 nests along the isle’s 5-mile stretch from May through August, which resulted in the birth of some 3,000 hatchlings by the time the treasure hunt begins.
“The sea turtle volunteers are busier than ever assisting the babies getting into the ocean safely after being born,” she says. “The hatchlings are only about the size of the palm of a human hand and are easily scooped up into the mouths of hungry wildlife. Land and airborne predators include a growing population of wild foxes, plus sea birds, ghost crabs and rodents, among others. The volunteers shoo-away the land predators and escort each baby turtle to the ocean. Each nest averages more than 100 eggs.”
Once in the ocean, Allen says the wee ones are on their own, and are notoriously snacked upon by any kind of sea life which is bigger in size. The babies laboriously swim about fifty miles to the Sargasso Sea. It is there that they take their first meal and hide among the sea grass until they grow and are more able to defend themselves from the predators of the ocean. Mostly Loggerhead Sea Turtles are born on the South Brunswick Islands, and they continue to be a threatened species in the United States.
Allen says the money raised from Lucy’s treasure hunt will mostly go toward replenishing the materials needed to build a fortress around each nesting site. Protective cages keep the eggs safe until the sea turtles are ready to be born and assisted by the volunteers to the ocean.
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