September 27th, 2012
Couples Sans Souci – Turtle Haven
In the darkness of the night, when the tide is high, they ride the waves on shore seeking a location suitable enough to deposit their eggs. Be careful how you step because they are very quiet in their approach so you may not hear them passing by. Try not to rush over to take any photos as these ladies don’t like to be disturbed before they have started what they came on land for, they’ll just return to sea if you do.
Sea Turtles are on the list of endangered species but Couples Sans Souci has been very blessed over the years with regular visits from these rare reptiles. Since 1951 when our beloved “Charlie” a Green Turtle, was washed ashore during a hurricane and subsequently made Sans Souci her home, love and admiration for them has grown. Six new sea turtle nests have been made on the shores of the Sunset Beach during the last two months alone.
Jamaica’s sea turtles have been on the decline since the 1980’s. Turtles normally lay their eggs in sand or dirt. As an adult, they live a long time, reaching upward of 100 years old but only one out of every 1000 babies are thought to reach maturity. Birds, Crabs, Mongoose as well as big Fish are some of their natural predators but with a little assistance, more of the Sunset Beach babies are able to reach the relative safety of the sea.
Couples Sans Souci prides itself on playing a part in preserving of endangered Sea Turtles. This role has continued with the guidance and assistance of the Grounds & Environmental Manager- Lesworth Johnson who is also a Game Warden in educating and training of team members of the resort about the importance of preserving these marine reptiles.
So far this nesting season, approximately 190 baby turtles have returned to the Caribbean Sea to join the multitude of other survivors in their two year journey of travel to Jamaica and back. They will begin by traveling with the sea current up from Jamaica to the south coast of the United States and back down through the Bahamas and the Lesser Antilles into the Northern section of the South American coast line and back up to Jamaica. The confirmed journey of the species includes the Hawks Bill Turtle, which is further listed as being critically endangered due to the tremendous loss of population. As of August 13th, additional turtles were spotted coming onto the Shores of the Sunset Beach at Couples Sans Souci to lay their eggs. This visit was captured on tape. The hatching of this particular nest is expected between the 10th and 12th of October while another nest laid 14 days prior is expected between 26th and 28 September approximately. It takes approximately 60 days for eggs to hatch with a day or two less for hotter times and a day over for the cooler periods. Within each nest, hotter temperatures produce predominantly female turtles while the cool temperature produces the males below.
Check out video’s showing turtle tracks along the beach, turtle in process of laying eggs and the hatching process. Sea Turtles can lay anywhere between 50 to 200 eggs in a large round hole which is dug with her flippers in the sand. When she is done laying the eggs she covers the eggs and hole with sand and returns to the sea.