Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Rehab sea pen construction blog

Tuesday – Day 1

At a small village a few miles away from Misha & Tom’s location where they are being stabilised in preparation for their rehabilitation the work to assemble their new sea pen has finally began. Ironically there is a sense amongst all of us that the temporary sea pen that had seemed so large and inviting with its clean clear sea water only a few weeks ago now feels too small to hold two growing and healthier dolphins.

And growing they are; fattening up nicely with a balanced healthy diet of fresh fish and Fish Eater multi vitamins from the UK. More good news recently received is that test results show both Misha & Tom are now free from the parasites found whilst they were held in captivity.

It was Tuesday morning when we, Andy, Baz, Dawne, Kaz and I finally left Fethiye after being on standby for more than a week following continual delays by the company constructing the pipes to a specific design. Minutes before we were due to leave news of a severe weather warning sent us scuttling off to a DIY shop to purchase strong plastic sheeting to give added protection to our, it later transpired rather inadequate tents.

Eventually we were en-route but in no particular hurry as a further delay to the schedule had been reported and we wouldn’t actually be needed until the following day. On arrival we were greeted by Derya, Erdem and Kemal all delighted to see us as we came bearing gifts in the way of food and goodies, and in the knowledge that we were there to help with the next phase of preparation for Misha & Tom’s rehabilitation.

The afternoon passed by pleasurably as the torrential rain forecast never actually materialised and we set up camp on the stony beach a few hundred metres away from Misha & Tom. A barbeque supper of chicken and chips rounded off the day as we settled in for the night; alarms set for an early start in the morning.

The team volunteering to help construct Misha and Tom's sea pen

Wednesday – Day 2

Unloading the pipes!
The team
The Company working on the pipes

Wednesday dawned bright and early as the cockerels started their cock-a-doodle-doodling rather loudly outside our tents at three in the morning. Again there was no need for such an early and rude awakening as we were informed by phone that the pipes were still in transit and it would be another hour, which then became two, before they would be on site.

Eventually, we were on our way only to discover that the men employed by the company didn’t “need” or - as was really the case - didn’t want us to help assemble the new sea pen. It turned out that they were being paid by the day and the thought of us speeding up the process was a cause of grave concern.

By now it was midday and still no work had been done and lunch was the most pressing item on the agenda so, while we ate, it was explained that as we had come to help and now we were here we would be sticking around until the work was completed.

So finally work began. The pipes were removed from the lorry and the company employees started work on the smaller medical pen. While we looked on kicking our heels, Kaz who is also a mechanical engineer approached Derya and suggested that we could begin preparing the longer pipes for the sea pen itself.

Amid much shaking of heads as the work was described as “too difficult” and only suitable for big strong men Andy and Baz, who had worked for many years in construction, Derya and Kaz started work fixing the brackets to pairs of the long pipes. The first pair of pipes took some time to finish as the team worked out how to do the job in hand but with the helping hand of a beer reward four more pairs were completed in record time, the last one taking just 4 minutes in total.

We returned to base to a waiting meal of Chilli, jacket potatoes and garlic bread prepared by Dawne, who had also spent the day organising the kitchen, assisting Erdem in Derya’s absence to feed Misha & Tom and mending her state of the art tent that had totally collapsed and that had up until that point been the envy of the entire team, before finally rounding off the evening with a few beers and a game of Triominoes.

Derya and I are the last to bed as she writes emails to SAD and Born Free about the progress of the day; I write this for Born Free’s web site and upload videos to Facebook as the torrential rains that threatened seem finally to have arrived.

Read about days 3 and 4 of sea pen construction here.

Getting to work!
The team working on the pen

A huge thank you goes to the whole team in Turkey who have been tirelessly campaigning, updating and building!!  Thank you Nichola for providing these updates - we will be bringing you further updates as they come in so please do keep checking back!!

The rescue and rehab of Misha and Tom will take significant time, effort and resources - if you would like to be part of it and help Born Free and the team, please consider donating to the care and rehab of Misha and Tom.

For the full story of Misha and Tom's rescue, please click here. 

All photos kindly taken and provided by Nichola Chapman

Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906


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