Swimming with Sea Turtles in Barbados
I am not sure when my fascination with sea turtles started….perhaps it was watching Finding Nemo and “Crush”. I fell in love with these laid back giants and their prehistoric faces. They are so majestic and graceful as they swim through the water, a laid back attitude that says “yeah, I’m cool. So!”
Sea turtles are very sociable creatures. They tend to stay in the same area throughout their life. At one stage, the sea turtle was on the endangered species list, however conservation efforts around the world have brought them back from the brink. The fact that they have become such a popular eco-tourism attraction has certainly helped as boatloads of people flock to the sea to swim with the turtles.
Barbados conservation efforts, through the Barbados Sea Turtle Project, started in 1987. Barbados is currently home to the second-largest hawksbill turtle nesting population in the Wider Caribbean, with up to 500 females nesting per year. Nesting season occurs on most beaches in Barbados, running from May to October. The most common types of turtles in the region include the green turtle, hawksbill turtle, leatherback turtle and the loggerhead turtle.
There are many options to get out and swim with the turtles. Spend a day on a catamaran and enjoy the amazing hospitality of Barbados. There is a catamaran tour to match any taste from the crowded party boat to the more intimate, smaller tour options. Many of the day tours also take you to a ship wreck where you can snorkel with the colourful, tropical fish that call the reef home. Drinks are lunch are generally included, as are hotel pickups…check with your tour operator for specific dietary needs.
I toured with Silver Moon Luxury Catamarans – and they are true to their word…it was a luxury experience. I felt pampered and had an outstanding experience. Our group was small. There were only 8 on board plus 3 amazing crew. This meant more time with the turtles and less time in the “mosh pit”. We saw other groups with 20-30 people on board. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to navigate amongst so many thrashing legs as I tried to get my photo taken with the turtle. Thanks to the wonderful crew on board, not only did I get up and personal with the turtles as they mingled with our group, but I managed to get some great photos too!
- Barbados Sea Turtle Project
- Visit Barbados – official tourism site of Barbados
- Swimming with Sea Turtles in Barbados