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Top Sea Turtle Sanctuaries you can visit while sailing

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You might have noticed that we’re a fan of turtles – they even inspired our logo. Dream Yacht’s appreciation of all things turtles emerged from our beginnings in the islands of the Seychelles, where Aldabra Giant Tortoises and many varieties of sea turtles are so well-loved.

In celebration of World Turtle Day, sponsored by the American Tortoise Rescue non-profit since 2000, we’ve researched turtle sanctuaries and conservation projects at key yacht charter destinations around the world.

turtle conservation hatchling on beach

There are many excellent sea turtle conservation projects and sanctuaries to be found around the globe. Visiting them and seeing sea turtles in their natural habitat can help us gain a greater appreciation for these amazing creatures, and also learn more about conservation efforts and how we can get involved.

In nature, most sea turtle hatchlings won’t survive due to predatory birds who catch them during their arduous trek to the sea. The ones that do make it to the sea face adjusting to warm water temperatures and the threat of ingesting plastic or getting caught in carelessly discarded fishing nets. Only one hatchling in 1000 survives to adulthood to reproduce. Conservation to protect hatchlings is so very important to rebuild turtle numbers around the world.

Sea turtles are also vital to the health of coral reefs and seagrass beds. Without sea turtles to graze and maintain these ecosystems there will be a decline in many other marine species as well.

If you love marine life, use our research to plan your itinerary for your next bareboat yacht charter so you can sail, enjoy turtle watching and do some good at the same time by donating to successful turtle conservation programs. #savetheturtles

green turtle swimming in turtle sanctuary

St. Vincent & Grenadines

Make for Tobago Cays Marine Park and its turtle nesting sites among the cays of Petit Bateau, Petit Rameau, Baradal, Jamesby and Petit Tabac.

The Baradal Turtle Sanctuary is a protected area with green and hawksbill turtles. You can swim with them in the shallow, clear waters; regularly seeing them surfacing for air. Just be careful to keep your distance and not chase or disturb them.

Puerto Rico

Add the uninhabited island of Culebrita, which is part of the Culebra National Wildlife Refuge, to your US and Spanish Virgin Islands sailing itinerary. This refuge is one of many that make up the Caribbean Islands National Wildlife Refuge Complex. Each refuge in the complex plays a vital role in conserving the unique species and resources of the Caribbean.

sea turtle hatchlings on beach

Culebrita’s six beaches and Playa Tortuga, also known as Turtle Beach, are a breeding ground for sea turtles. You’ll see leatherback and hawksbill turtles in the water but make sure you don’t interfere with them and keep your distance.

During your time at this sea turtle conservation area, you can also enjoy spectacular snorkeling and diving opportunities, as well as spotting the many birds that reside here.

Guadeloupe

Sail to Jacques Cousteau’s Underwater Reserve, a protected underwater marine reserve surrounding Pigeon Island featuring vibrant coral reefs and gardens, and protected marine life – including green turtles and other species of sea turtles.

With its 1,000 hectares of coral, tropical fish, turtles and humpback whales, there are plenty of diving opportunities – experienced divers can discover natural sponge covered shipwrecks.

Marine technician oceanographer and cinematographer Cousteau spent his life studying the sea and sea creatures – discover more about the turtle conservation project when you visit Guadeloupe.

Bahamas

Visit the Exumas Cays Land & Sea Park, established in the 1950s, and watch turtles swim among the reefs at uninhabited Shroud Cay, which serves as a natural sea turtle nursery.

The world’s first protected area of its type, it has a total ban on removing any shells, plants or wildlife from within the park on land and sea.

The Bahamas Sea Turtle Network is a small community that was created as a place to report turtle nesting, injuries, stranding and observations of sea turtles in the Bahamas.

Seychelles

The Seychelles has many nature reserves and national parks. Get to know the giant Aldabra tortoises, hawksbill and green sea turtles on Curieuse Island and Marine National Park, near Praslin. This small undeveloped island is a sanctuary for natural flora and fauna, where you can explore mangrove forests, granite cliffs and white-sand beaches, as well as the extraordinary native wildlife.

sea turtle sanctuary ocean view in seychelles

In addition, The Nature Protection Trust of Seychelles has established a successful captive breeding project for giant tortoises on Silhouette Island, now a national park, which has led to returning these creatures to the wild.

Tahiti

On the island of Moorea, Te Mana o Te Moana is a non-profit organization that protects the marine environment of French Polynesia. They have established a Sea Turtle Care Center with the support of the Ministry of the Environment.

turtle sanctuary workers in Tahiti

Their objective is to implement concrete actions to understand, educate and protect the Polynesian marine environment, which includes care and protection for the sea turtles of French Polynesia. The organization collects and provides medical supervision for sick, injured or maimed turtles, as well as any turtles seized by authorities. Since 2004, over 400 turtles have been nursed back to health, including green, hawksbill, loggerhead and olive turtles.

During your time in Tahiti, you can visit Te Mana o Te Moana and take a guided tour of the rehabilitation center to learn about the amazing sea turtle conservation work they do on a daily basis.

Thailand

The Similan Islands National Park is known for hosting numerous endangered sea turtles. This pristine string of islands, 70km off the coast of the Phang Nga province of southern Thailand, is home to some of Thailand’s most important turtle nesting grounds. Charter yachts are prohibited from visiting these islands, which aids in turtle conservation.

As an alternative, Thailand visitors can plan for some time at the Sea Turtle Conservation Center in Phang Nga. The Sea Turtle Conservation Center works to rehabilitate injured turtles, and also serves as a turtle nursery and educates the general public about sea turtles.

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We hope these turtle sanctuaries have inspired a sailing vacation, where you can see them for yourself. From bareboat charters to skippered, by the cabin and crewed charters, we offer something for everyone. Get in touch with us!

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