Swimming with the Turtles in Barbados
Turtle Time In Barbados
There are three main species of sea turtles found in the waters surrounding Barbados:
— the green turtle (Chelonia mydas)
— the hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), and
— the leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea).
Between May and October, the green turtle and the hawksbill turtle both nest in Barbados. However, records show that nesting occurs in every month of the year.
The leatherback turtle’s nesting season in Barbados is between February and July.
Although there is no present measure to age live adult sea turtles accurately, Sea turtles can live for 60+ years.
Sea turtles have always been locals to the island, and over the years, they have started to become both critically endangered and endangered species.
Did you know? As of 1998, the Government of Barbados made it illegal to catch any species of sea turtle in Barbados, as well as possess any kind of turtle product such as their shells and eggs. It is a severe offense in Barbados, so please keep this in mind during your stay on the island. Penalties for breaking this law can include fines of up to BBD 50,000 and two years in jail.
The Barbados Sea Turtle Project (http://www.barbadosseaturtles.org/), states that the Hawksbill and leatherback sea turtles are critically endangered, while green turtles are considered to be endangered (https://www.iucnredlist.org/resources/categories-and-criteria).
Overharvesting for turtle shells, meat, and eggs, as well as beachfront developments like sea walls, and introduced animals such as the mongoose disturbing nesting areas, are all factors contributing to a declining local turtle population in Barbados. A large number of sea turtles are also accidentally caught and drowned in fishing nets and long-line fishing gear.
Note: In the past, by using the meat from the green turtle, hawksbill turtle shells and canned turtle soup were used to make Tortoiseshell jewelry.
The Barbados Sea Turtle Project helps contribute to the slowing down of the extinction process, in efforts to restore the local Barbadian marine turtle populations. The project encourages research and the conservation of the turtle populations at both local and regional levels.
Swim With The Turtles In Barbados
Swimming with the turtles is a popular activity to do in Barbados, for both locals and visitors alike.
Barbados is one of the few places in the world where you can interact with these sea turtles in their natural environment. It makes for an excellent experience and a ‘must-do’ opportunity during your time on the island.
You can swim with the turtles in many spots dotted all around the island.
Simply grab your snorkeling gear and head out to where you see the tourist boats feeding the turtles, and you’re bound to catch an up-close and personal glimpse of at least one of these magnificent beauties.
You can also actually go out on of these same boats dedicated to taking you out to swim and feed the sea turtles of Barbados.
Perhaps taking a catamaran cruise is more your style?
Rest assured, there’s nearly always a stop along the west coast of the island designated to swimming with the turtles on these types of local sailing cruises. Most tour operators also provide snorkeling equipment such as life jackets, masks, snorkels, and fins, which is usually part of the all-inclusive sailing packages for most local catamarans.
In addition to swimming with the turtles, you can also explore underwater shipwrecks on the catamaran cruises. For a unique and vibrant “underwater petting zoo,” as well as a great photo opportunity, you can swim with and interact with countless other types of colorful tropical fish.
Swimming with the turtles is an exciting Barbados attraction. Children, teenagers, and adults will all enjoy feeding and swimming with the sea turtles of Barbados in the beautiful Caribbean Sea.
We’re sure you’ll love it too!
By: Brett Callaghan
Last Updated: March 10th, 2020
Publisher: Totally Barbados