Sunday, September 11, 2005

Jazz, the Turtle

Sunday morning. I'm aboard one of Sebago's catamarans, the Marquesa. The sea is almost as smooth as glass, just the ripples of the current and our wake disturbing the surface. We're cruising a mile or two off Key West after releasing Jazz, a 54 pound turtle that was nursed back to health at the Turtle Hospital in Marathon for over a year. Jazz is a Atlantic Green Turtle who had laser surgery to remove fibropapilloma tumors that were causing him to slowly starve to death.

The release is an event sponsored by the Gina for Queena campaign. Gina Maseratti is running for Queen of Fantasy Fest, and I am treasurer of the campaign. We sold tickets for the turtle release cruise, and ticket buyers were encouraged to sponsor children for the cruise. A half dozen kids, some students of Miss Sandy, Gina's girlfriend, at Poinciana School.

Jazz slipped into the water from the stern of the boat and immediately swam away into the sea grass bottom. We watched him surface several times to breathe. When we were sure that he was far enough away from the boat to be safe, Captain Adam started the engines and we moved a safe distance away.

The boat was donated, and so was a repast of pizza, pastry and cold drinks. The King & Queen campaigns are a long-standing feature of the period leading up to Fantasy Fest. Elections are determined by which candidate raises the most money for AIDS Help Inc., the beneficiary of the fundraising.

Janet and I are helping our friends, Kerry (Ri) Cressman (Gina Maseratti) and Sandy Crawford to raise money. Gina's "opponent" for Queen is Redd, a local chanteuse, but in truth the campaign is a friendly rivalry. The object is not so much to "win", but to raise significant amounts of money to assist AIDS Help in its mission of furnishing assistance to its clients, people with AIDS.

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