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Look out for Turtles

Turtle Season

 To the Beaches

Turtle Season is that time of the year when hotel beaches appear darker at night. This is because they dim or turn of the lights for most of the night. It is not for romantic reasons or to save energy and money no, it is for the turtles or Turtle Season. The turtles you may ask?

Why would turtles care about light? Well, they don’t. But it affects them all the same. In what we call Turtle Season from April/May to September, those with a passion for the environment will abide by the “lighting rules”

A turtle will, just like salmon, eel and sturgeon return to the place it was born, or better said hatched. Out of 100 turtles hatching on a sandy beach only an average of 2 survive to make it back to that same beach a few years later as adults.

leatherback_scottbenson_noaaWith progress and developments many of the beaches have undergone changes. Where there was soft undisturbed sand, there are now sometimes developments that come with lighting.

Turtles coming on land to lay their eggs can easily be spooked by activities or disoriented by bright lights. The Turtle will make her way to a comfortable spot to lay her eggs. She uses her back flippers to dig the nest which takes time. She’ll lay up to 150 eggs once the nest is ready. Any disturbance to this natural process must be avoided. Turtles might even abandon the entire process and head back to the sea, of all is not running smoothly.

Who turned off the lights?

Waterfront developments with sandy beaches prevent this from happening by dimming or turning off their sea – facing lights.

Therefore between April and September Calabash Cove’s beach is darker than usual come 9.00 pm. We can ease the turtle’s task of finding a soft spot on the beach, that remains dry even at high tide this way.  Also we ensure that the turtle is not disoriented and instead of returning to the ocean, continues inland towards the light source.

hawaiian-green-sea-turtle-3Furthermore, if you are really fortunate, you may be lucky enough to observe one of these wonders of nature. When the newborn leatherback turtles make their way into the water, look for the track marks in the sand. Hopefully survivors will return when they have grown to the greater part of 2000 pounds and continue to repeat the cycle.

May 23rd is World Turtle Day

If you are more adventurous and want to participate in a turtle watch please tell a concierge at Calabash Cove. They will be happy to arrange it for you.

Reading suggestion: https://conserveturtles.org/information-about-sea-turtles-why-care/