|Green Sea Turtle, Chelonia mydas. On the beach at Aventuras Akumal, Mexico.|
Turtles have been swimming in the oceans of the world since dinosaur times. Only during nesting season do they come on shore, and then just for a few hours in the middle of the night. We were lucky to see this yearly ritual on a vacation in the summer of 2013 in the Yucatan Peninsula, whose beaches along the Caribbean coast (known as the Maya Riviera) are historic nesting sites for sea turtles. For six days, we rented a beach house near the tiny town of Akumal, a Mayan word meaning “place of the turtles”.
|Volunteers from Program de Proteccion y Conservacion de Tortuga Marina marking a new nest|
At some beaches where sea turtles used to nest, they no longer come. Sea turtles are endangered because of predation by both humans and animals, from housing developments along the beaches where they nest, from pollution, and from global warming. We were lucky to see sea turtles close-up in nature. You can find out more about the sea turtles along the Caribbean Coast of Quintana Roo on the Yucatan peninsula here.
Note: Green sea turtles live and nest all over the world including on the beaches of Viet Nam. To see a short video of the egg laying process and some amazing shots of the newly hatched turtles scuttling to the sea, click here.
All text and photos copyright Caroline Arnold