|Small green sea turtle in St. Kitts. Note the flipper tags. It also seems like this turtle may have suffered an earlier injury, with a "bite-like" portion of the carapace missing.|
As we've visited the eastern and western Caribbean island nations and territories, Caroline and I have seen numerous references to or signs of sea turtles. Cruise ships take advantage of the widespread interest, advertising excursions noting the possibility of seeing turtles while snorkeling.
|Note who Celebrity chooses to feature on their excursion brochures!|
This is a summary of the sea turtle observations we made.
In San Juan, we came across numerous signs indicating that turtles nest on the beach. Obviously, we were there prior to the start of the nesting season.
Our first dive was in Aruba. We saw a variety of sea creatures, and two airplanes that were sunk to make an artificial reef, but no sea turtles.
|Caroline chilling at 50 feet below.|
US Virgin Islands
One green turtle, and one of the smallest I've seen near shore. Greens and other sea turtles in the Caribbean spend much of their "lost years" floating with sargassum (in photo below).
|Great visibility in the water. However, much of the coral at Honeymoon Beach was covered with sand, presumably from Hurricane Maria (or another one). We did see a very large great barracuda, over a meter in length.|
On a small islet near the city of Ponce, we saw our first obvious sea turtle nests. They were old nests, but the old body pits were evident, as were old sea turtle egg shells.
More sea turtle nests! This time we were at the extreme eastern end of the island, on a lonely beach managed by The Nature Conservancy.
|You can see old sea turtle nesting body pits on the beach.|
|Some eggs seemed to have remnants of sea turtle hatchlings still inside. This probably happens when an older nest is dug up by a later female.|
Our first trip to St. Kitts involved climbing a volcano. This time, we headed for the water. After a 2 hour snorkel, we were exhausted but elated. Shipwrecks, cannons, and wildlife galore. Three hawksbills plus 2 greens, and a cute, irritated pufferfish.
Finally, our guide had assisted in tagging sea turtles, and he caught one to inspect. I, of course, couldn't help myself!