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News from Rosalie Bay Dominica

The turtles came! 2020 was expected to be Rosalie Bay’s big return after a massive rebuilding project. As it turned out, COVID-19 took over, the resort and the rest of the country was on lockdown, but the turtles continued their natural and instinctual drive to come to Rosalie Beach to nest.

Rosalie Bay Eco Resort & Spa lies on the south-east coast of Dominica on the Atlantic Ocean. And while the rip tides mean that the water is too dangerous for bathing or swimming, the black sand beach remains a nesting site for three sea turtle species – the endangered leatherbacks, green, and hawksbill sea turtles. For decades, the previous owner provided financial support to the protection of the nesting beach and the turtles, and the resort pledges to continue supporting the program.

Monitoring the Turtle Activity

Judy, Simon, and Kenny of the Nature Enhancement Team (NET) are exceptionally committed to the sea turtles and diligently patrol and monitor the nesting activities. The first signs of turtle season was observed early, so beach patrols began on March 1, 2020 and continued until November 2020, a 9-month commitment. For these long months, the three beach guardians kept the watch, recording the number of turtle encounters (confirmed and suspected nests and false crawls), the number of eggs and the number of hatchlings for each of the three types of turtles. And they continued even after their funding had run out, thus giving voluntary service – showing how deep their dedication is to protecting this nesting ground.

1,500 Hatchlings

In 2020, the team recorded a total of 2,083 eggs, 1,491 of which hatched. It is estimated that out of 1,000 eggs, only one might make it back to the beach as an adult female to lay eggs. These are bleak odds, which is why it is so important to save as many as possible during the nesting phase. The turtle watchers move nests that are too close to the ocean, relocating them a safe distance away so that the tide does not drown them. With this activity, along with closely monitoring nests for signs of hatching, they saved and released 197 hatchlings, which would not have made it out of the nest on their own.

In 2020, the team recorded a total of 2,083 eggs, 1,491 of which hatched. It is estimated that out of 1,000 eggs, only one might make it back to the beach as an adult female to lay eggs. These are bleak odds, which is why it is so important to save as many as possible during the nesting phase. The turtle watchers move nests that are too close to the ocean, relocating them a safe distance away so that the tide does not drown them. With this activity, along with closely monitoring nests for signs of hatching, they saved and released 197 hatchlings, which would not have made it out of the nest on their own.

Throughout the summer, 745 people witnessed the magic of excavating a nest to find the babies and then release them for their match to the sea. Perhaps because of COVID, people became more aware of the turtle release announcements and came to participate in the activity.

Join the Turtle Experience

The full turtle experience consists of beach patrol, nest relocation, tagging of turtles, nest excavation and release of hatchlings, and recording all activities.  Nesting season starts around mid-March while hatching season continues as long as the moms come to nest.  May to July is still the most likely time to either see a mom nesting or see the hatchlings.  Guests at Rosalie Bay will get a wake-up call when the turtle is spotted coming in to nest, will be notified of hatchling releases, and may sign up to join the patrol for the evening.

Contact Us if you want to donate to the project. All donations will go to NET.

$50 Resort Credit

Rosalie Bay is “Safe in Nature-certified” and accepts all international guests. Book now to be part of the Turtle Experience. Book 7 nights or more direct and receive a credit of $50 towards your stay. Visit the turtle experience on our website for more information on the Turtle Protection Program.

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