Our 4 flipper friends the Turtles.....
Updated: Feb 2
In Barbados one of the most popular activities visitor like to do is to swim with the turtles.
It is an activity that is also becoming more popular amounts Barbadians themselves.
I guess if they say mans best friend is a dog that would mean my best friend would have to be a turtle because the turtle would be the oceans 4 legged animal 😜 I am happier in the sea than on land so that would be my best friend.
I am very fortunate to live in an ocean front unit in a condominium building. On most days I can sit in my small patio perched several floors up and look down and and catch sight of a few turtles swimming.
Sometimes we also see stingrays.Last year I prayed for whales lol. Now that was a BIG ask, whales do visit Barbados but not traditionally on the South Coast. I was so depressed from Covid , no I did not have it....but my business sure did 😜. Well guess what I got the Whales swimming right in front of my home. Now I know what my post tomorrow will be about 😊😊 Anyhow back to Turtles.
There are 3 different turtles that nest in Barbados .The green turtle, the hawksbill and the leatherback. The Hawksbill and the Leatherback turtles are critically endangered while green turtles are endangered.
The Hawksbill and the Green Turtles are more widely known, they are the highlight of the very popular Turtle & Shipwreck snorkelling excursions offered by several companies in Barbados including our own Beautiful Barbados Island Tours & Excursions Ltd & Tranquility Cruises.
The photo to the left is of a Leatherback. Leatherbacks are the largest of the turtle species. Leatherbacks nest on the Eastern and South Eastern beaches between February and July.
This turtle was nesting on Foul Bay Beach. The little girl is my niece who is not so little now. As I look back at this photo it makes me wonder if events like this helped to shape her into the wonderful caring young lady that she is. She loves nature and animals. She will walk on a beach and pick up the trash and it does not have to be a special event being held to do so... she just does it ❤️
Hawksbill turtles nest on our beaches between April & November mainly on the south and west coast beaches. Another popular even for visitors and locals alike is turtle hatchling releases hosted by The Barbados Sea turtle Project who http://www.barbadosseaturtles.org
The Barbados Sea Turtle Project is based at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus. The Project provides a 24-hour Sea Turtle Hotline (230-0142) year round which the public and visitors can use to call in information on turtles nesting, hatching of eggs, or lost or injured turtles. Project staff are called on to relocate nests made too close to the high tide line as sea water can kill developing embryos, to rescue hatchlings disoriented by hotel lights, and to rehabilitate turtles that have been accidentally hooked or partially drowned in fishing nets. In addition, Project staff patrol high-density nesting beaches nightly during the height of the nesting season, measuring and tagging nesting females and recording nest locations. This action allows information to be gathered that will determine if the Project’s conservation efforts are beginning to recover populations and serves as a deterrent to would-be poachers.
Below is a video called The Journey of a Hawksbill Sea Turtle. Its prety awesome. If you want to learn more about these amazing animals give it a watch.
Now for some important facts about our very dear four flipper friends the turtles
It is estimated that only 1 in every 1,000 hatchlings will survive to adulthood
In Barbados It is completely illegal to catch any species of sea turtle, or possess any turtle product. Penalties include fines up to $50,000 Barbados dollars and/or two years in jail.
These laws were put in place to put an end to a long history of hunting of these animals for their meat, eggs and shells, which reduced turtle populations in the Caribbean dramatically.
Most of the turtles nest between May and October. They lay around 100 eggs at a time and they lay an average of 4 times in a breeding year.
Dependent on sand temperature, the eggs will incubate in the sand an average of 60 days.. These marine reptiles emerge from the water every 2-5 years and make 4-6 nests for the season. Most interestingly the sex of embryos is determined by sand temperature .Cool temperatures found closer to the tide line produce males and warm temperatures produce females.
Sea turtles may live for 60+ years. Currently, there is no method to accurately age live adult turtles.
As a hatchling, the turtle imprints on the location where it was born and when it is mature, it will migrate back to that site and if it is a female, will most likely nest within a few kilometres distance of where she hatched 20-30 years before.
Between nesting seasons, these magnificent creatures take long migratory journeys back to their feeding grounds. For instance, Barbados’ nesting Hawksbills forage in countries as far flung as Dominica and Venezuela. Our leatherbacks likely go even further afield, feeding in the productive waters of the North and East Atlantic.
Green Turtles feed largely on Turtle Grass.
Hawksbills feed almost exclusively on sponges associated with coral reefs
I hope you have enjoyed my little blog about the turtles and that you will visit our website at Beautiful Barbados Island Tours & Excursions Ltd or Tranquility Cruises to book for your very own experience to swim with these wonderful animals. Please remember to show them care and respect when you see them. Look with your eyes and enjoy their beauty but treat them with great care.
Have a great day 😊😊