Book Plombagine Cottage and snorkel, sail or swim with turtles in Barbados at Alleyne’s Bay. Barbados is home to a large population of leatherback and hawksbill sea turtles. Some guests are lucky to see the turtles as they lay their eggs. Others are in time to witness baby hatchlings making their short but tedious trek into the ocean.
Leatherback Sea Turtles
Unique in appearance, leatherbacks are the only sea turtles that do not have a hard shell. Instead, leatherbacks have a tough, rubbery skin with thousands of tiny bones that give them their leathery appearance. Known as the largest and oldest species of turtle, they can grow up to 10 feet and weigh over 2,000 pounds. They also enjoy a diet of jellyfish and other soft marine animals. They can consume up to twice their body weight in one day. Leatherbacks love to swim, and their powerful front flippers help them glide through the ocean for hours on end. They can journey for thousands of miles across the Atlantic.
Nesting season for the lovely leatherback runs from February to July. When ready to lay eggs, adult females return to the region where they were hatched and make their nests. On average, they lay around 70-80 tiny eggs. The eggs incubate for just over two months. Of the many hatchlings, only a few survive to adulthood. It takes another 15-25 years before the young turtles reach maturity and repeat the nesting cycle.
Hawksbill Sea Turtles
The hawksbill derives its name from its hawk-like beak. Now a critically endangered species, hawksbills have been hunted illegally for their beautiful shells. The Barbados Sea Turtle Project sometimes tag and track these turtles. Tracking information reveals that some hawksbills journey to visit their Spanish-speaking cousins in waters as far as the Dominican Republic to the North, and Venezuela to the South. They nest between April and November.
Save the Turtles
While watching these magnificent creatures can be an incredible experience, it is of utmost importance that persons do not disturb the turtles while they are laying. Moreover, persons should not try to capture the baby turtles as they make their journey into the sea. We have high expectations that our wonderful guests will treat our marine environment with great care.
We at Plombagine are committed to sustainable tourism. As such, we encourage guests to report sightings of nests to facilitate recording by the Barbados Sea Turtle Project. Guests can also donate or volunteer to assist with the Barbados Sea Turtle Project by visiting their website. We hope you support this initiative.