ECO TOURISM PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
The eco tourism program is for you to "Be inspired by turtles in the wild" to live life more harmoniously with the natural environment. Sea turtles have existed on our planet for over 150 million years since the dinosaur age, which means they've been around much longer than humans! 65 million years ago, the dinosaurs went extinct but the turtles survived - adapting to various environmental conditions and habitats. You can witness their miraculous ability to adapt and live in different habitats by visiting them in rivers, oceans, and beaches of Hawaii. Sea Turtles 911 partners with tour operators in Hawaii to offer this unique program to experience the magnificence of these ancient animals in their natural habitats. While you travel around the island of Oahu, Hawaii, to see turtles in the wild, our volunteers educate you on the conservation biology and research of sea turtles, and share historical and cultural stories of human interactions with turtles.
Beaches are where baby sea turtles are born as mother sea turtles everywhere lay their eggs in the beach sand. However, since the beaches in Hawaii are so special, sea turtles also haul up on the beach sand to simply bask in the sun, soaking up the rays much like people getting a suntan! Marine turtles display this unique behavior only in Hawaii, Australia, and the Galapagos islands, but scientists report that sea turtles may stop basking on beaches soon due to global warming, so don't miss your chance to witness this natural phenomenon while you're in Hawaii!
Volunteers lead you to different beaches to watch sea turtles and discuss the importance of beach ecosystems and conservation strategies to preserve our beaches. According to national surveys, not all of Hawaii's beaches are as pristine and clean as some are surprisingly covered in plastic pollution. Volunteers pick up any trash found on the beaches so they don't end up into our ocean where sea turtles accidentally eat them and get seriously sick! Did you know that more than half the world's sea turtles have eaten plastic? While on your turtle tour, feel free to volunteer for a quick beach clean-up to save the turtles! Trash collection equipment and supplies are provided.
Aside from laying eggs or basking on the beach, which is a rare phenomenon that occurs on a few islands in the world including Hawaii, sea turtles spend all of their time underwater in the ocean. These ancient marine reptiles are expert navigators with an internal magnetic compass which allows them to migrate thousands of miles between familiar nesting beaches and feeding grounds in the vast ocean. The sea turtles' loyalty toward special areas in the ocean where they settle down under reefs and rocks to make their "home", allow you to see turtles in the open ocean. To arrive at their oceanic home, you will travel by boat for about 15 minutes. Once there, you can watch the turtles swimming around the boat, popping their heads out of the water surface to breathe. Snorkeling gear and vests are provided if you'd like to get in the water to get a more personal encounter with the turtles; however, you must stay at least 10 feet away from them at all times.
Although sea turtles are adapted for the marine environment, they have been observed swimming up and down the brackish river habitat of Hawaii. Marine biologists believe that sea turtles seek refuge in the river because most of their large predators, such as tiger sharks, do not enter the river. The safety of the river allows turtles to rest after feeding in the near shore areas. To explore the river to view sea turtles, you can kayak or paddle on a stand-up paddleboard (SUP), up and down the river while enjoying the beautiful scenary.
If you are looking to experience Hawaii through an eco-friendly adventure, this ecotourism program is for you. To ask our volunteers to lead you on this trip, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org