mycompass.ca

Q&A


By Ilona Kauremszky


Q: I have heard you can help protect turtles abroad. Could you suggest any tours or programs?

A: When I visited Barbados, it was in August when I saw hundreds of endangered hawksbill hatchlings creep out from countless nests strewn across the beachfront. Call it luck. Ever since then, my friend an avid turtle protector religiously writes me each year to give me an update on the turtle activity along the popular tourist stretch known as the St. Lawrence Gap. Itís never been the same she says.

April through October is the best time, but hawksbill nesting occurs all year. While there you can hook up with the Barbados Sea Turtle Project (www.barbadosseaturtles.org). For best sightings, fill out the online request form available from them.

Once in Barbados you can also call the "Turtle Hotline" 24/7 at 230-0142 for any turtle sightings.

For other travel-related information to Barbados, dial toll-free 1-800-268-9122 or visit www.barbados.org.

Another option you might wish to consider is a fascinating new sea turtle program located in Dominica. Growing out of a successful sea turtle program operating on Rosalie Beach, visitors to Dominica will soon be able to observe these magnificent creatures at many more locations across the island with a trained tour guide from neighboring villages. The recently established Dominica Sea Turtle Conservation Organization (DomSeTCO) is formally launching a coordinated, community-based eco-tourism and management program in 2009 that will operate at Londonderry Beach, Bout Sable Beach, and the beaches at Rosalie and Riviere Cyrique.

However, nightly beach patrolling has already begun, with trained citizen patrollers conducting turtle tagging, data collection and, when necessary, nest and egg relocation. Turtles tagged on Dominica can be tracked throughout the Caribbean due to collaboration with the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation (WIDECAST). Limited tours are available on an appointment basis.

Local snacks and drinks such as roast bread fruit, codfish, and coffee will be sold at select beaches. Turtle watching tours for visitors will be $10USD per person in season, which lasts approximately from March through August each year.

For more information on Dominica, contact the Discover Dominica Tourism Authority at 866-522-4057. Or, visit Dominicaís official website, www.discoverdominica.com

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