In Sao Vincente we went swimming with turtles.. Turtle House keeps the beach of San Pedro and the sea clean and feeds the turtles; they instruct the tourists so they use the right sunscreen and don’t touch the animals. This way they raise awareness, protect the turtle population and make a living. Triple gain! This is the tourism we like.
Here at Sao Pedro, we saw the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta). “They nest at night in summer,” our host Jair Roche from Turtle House said. “The females find a suitable site on the beach to lay her eggs. Some two-and-a-half months later, the young turtles climb out of the nest and go to sea. Of each thousand, only one or two survive until maturity. The females return 12 to 15 years later to the same beach to nest again.”
Last decades the number dropped dramatically. This is why all over the world, people take the initiative to increase the population again. Raising awareness helps. For example, little turtles instinctively go to the light area, which is the sea. But since the hotels along the beach give lots of light at night, they ran to the shore with all its roads and animals, instead of to the safer sea. Now the hotels dim their light towards the sea when it is night, the turtles can find their way again. Turtle nurseries are trying to guide the turtles to safer places. And, of course, eating turtles is ‘not-done’ anymore.