St. John’s Sea Turtle nesting season began early this year with a Leatherback turtle nest. There was quite the excitement as we have not had a Leatherback nest on St. John since 2016 and the species is currently endangered. In fact, it is believed that the global population has declined 40 percent over the past three generations.
The two most common sea turtles in our Caribbean waters are Green and Hawksbill turtles. These are the ones you see while snorkeling at places like Maho Bay. Their nesting season typically does not begin until July and lasts until November. Leatherback sea turtles are much more rare to spot despite their large size. These turtles can grow up to be approximately 1500 lbs. and 5-6 feet long simply on the diet of jellyfish. They are also known for their very large flippers. As you can see from the photos, these babies’ front flippers were as wide as the hatchling was tall, so like a puppy growing into his paws, these turtles will eventually grow into their large front fins.
As a volunteer with the Friends of the Virgin Islands National Park sea turtle monitoring program, I hope this is a sign of a very fruitful nesting season. To learn more about Friends of the VI National Park and how you can become a volunteer, head over to their website here. Attending hatchings and excavations is just one of the awesome perks of being a volunteer!
Please enjoy the photos I took watching the baby hatchlings emerge one evening followed by the excavation. I think one of my favorite photos has to be the one of the young lady expressing her excitement as a hatchling made a detour at her as it made its way to the water.
It warms my heart every time to watch these wonderful creatures make their way to the water for the first time, and I’m so glad to be able to share these memories with you all!
If you ever want to talk sea turtles (or real estate), I am always a phone call away!