No Stars Today!

This morning, Elliot and Ian woke up at 2:30 to be ready in time for our flight from Anchorage down to Ithaca. On waking up, Ian checked that the shipment of sea stars (coming via Fedex) was on it’s way… and for some reason it had stopped it’s transit in Memphis. The sea stars were collected on Sunday afternoon at around 2 pm, spent 14 hrs suspended in laundry bags before being packaged up in thick plastic bags, sealed, double bagged, and placed into coolers with ice and then triple bagged. They were sent off on PenAir, Alaska Airline’s affiliate Monday morning at 8 am, and after a frustrating day of hunting we found on Tuesday that they hadn’t made it out on Monday’s FedEx shipment because PenAir’s plane came in too late. Thus they were eventually picked up by FedEx Tuesday at 2pm, and we thought they were on their merry way. Unfortunately though, this seemed not the be the case this morning.

IMG_0982 Ian showing off juvenile Pycnopodia helianthoides after they’d been packaged. The bags were sealed, then double bagged in another thick plastic bag, then triple bagged within the cooler.

Ian and Elliot boarded the flight to Seattle hoping that their lack of movement was a glitch. Unfortunately, on landing, they found out that the sea star packages had gone missing somewhere in FedEx’s Memphis terminal, and they couldn’t guarantee any delivery date (which happens when you can’t find 5,  100 lb boxes clearly marked with “PERISHABLE” “LIVE STARFISH” “RUSH SHIP” “KEEP COOL BUT DON’T FREEZE” etc!). The best case scenario we are looking at is a delivery tomorrow morning if the sea stars are found. We’ll just have to keep our fingers crossed that the sea stars survive the transit enclosed in a plastic bag and in warm conditions! Each star – which consume oxygen directly from the water – was packed in ~ 1 Gallon of water, so hopefully (please please please oh Poseidon!) they should be OK.

Meanwhile, Elliot and Ian are flying slowly back to Ithaca and will beat the sea stars home despite leaving 48 hrs later…


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