Turtle Walks and Turtle Talks at CEA

Akumal is a Mayan word for Place of the Turtles. It is a year-round home to juvenile green turtle that feed off the sea grass in the bays. But from May October it is also a nesting ground for Loggerhead and Green Turtles. If you are ever in the area during this time, we highly suggest that you take the time to attend one of these talks followed by a walk. While there is no guarantee if you will see a mother nesting or babies hatching, for those who do it is an unforgettable experience.

The Minnesota Zoo recently worked with Just Imagine Vacations, Inc to arrange a group trip to Akumal that included spending one night doing the turtle talk and 4 nights of shadowing the staff and volunteers. They had an amazing time and learned so much. The wonderful outcome is that they will be ambassadors for life championing for the sea turtles. According to Alma, the CEA Communications Coordinator The kids were great, they really enjoyed it...They were so lucky....every night something awesome happened. They were delighted not just by the turtles but also by the meteorites shower, and full moon. It was a great week.

The kids learned lots...they helped us relocate nests, give information to tourists, check turtles, find nests and as well as hatchlings that were lost, release babies, organize people for releases at Beach Resort. But the most important thing I guess they learned, is to be aware of how people can affect turtles and all our ecosystems ...

Recently Philip Brown and his wife, Lenora, participated in a Turtle Talk and Walk and here is what they shared about their relationship. My wife and I wanted to express our compliments to the group there. We did the Turtle Walk on Tuesday July 14/09. We had the most amazing experience that we will treasure forever. We came to the CEA Center during our visit to Akumal beach and they told us, that night would be a good evening to go, as they were expecting a hatching. They rep prepared us with details of what we would need to bring to be prepared for the walk and what to expect. We were the only "tour guests" and went out with a group of Youth volunteers who were amazing testaments to what we can expect from our new generation of young adults. They were from all over the world and although not much English was spoken, we were all able to communicate in some manner. These volunteers were the most courteous and well mannered individuals we have had the pleasure of meeting. We went to the site where the nest was expecting to hatch and did the waiting, the whole time being educated on what the youth volunteers do and the dedication they have to this cause of ensuring a better success rate of turtle survival. About midnight we were rewarded with the incredible birth of 115 leatherback turtles as they poured out of the nest like an erupting volcano and we all carefully directed them to the water. Once this was complete a couple of the student volunteers offered to take us back to the centre where we could catch a cab back to the resort. On the way back we had to stop as a mother Green Turtle had come up on the beach and was preparing her nest to lay eggs. They explained that we couldn't move or she may dart back to the water. We carefully perch behind her and watch as she dug deep and then when she was done we were again rewarded wth the most amazing National Geographic sight of watching her give birth and drop the hundreds of eggs into the nest, this whole time, the volunteers and Armando explaining every step of the process.

Armando gave us the next most amazing life experience by guiding us around to the side of the mother and allowing us to touch her explaining that once she started to lay her eggs she will not leave the nest until all the eggs have been laid and she has covered them all. We were amazed at the power of her flippers to literally throw the sand to cover the eggs. We noted that her sand throwing destroyed a Styrofoam picnic carrier from the pelting sand. We can't thank all the volunteers and Armando enough for giving us an experience we will never forget. It was like we just watched a National Geographic film, but live! We will recommend this to all our friends who visit during this time of the year.

Again please pass on our most sincere thanks to the team from that night and Armando who was an awesome host, of an evening we will never forget.

To learn more about the Turtle Talks and Walks contact CEA at info@ceakumal.org or visit their website.

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