Every year, I eagerly await the turtle season that takes place between August and late November. During this time turtles come to our Capella beach to lay their eggs. The coast along the Baja California peninsula is home to five of the seven species of the world’s sea turtles. These are the Hawksbill (Tortuga Carey), Loggerhead (Tortuga Caguama, Amarilla o Cabezona), Leatherback (Tortuga Laúd), Green Turtle (also Black Turtle, Tortuga Prieta, Negra o Verde) and most common of all the species of sea turtle, Olive Ridley (Tortuga Golfina). All of them are endangered and four are ecologically extinct.
I have actually been lucky enough to help with the release of the baby turtles into the ocean, which is one of my favorite experiences. Last November Grupo Tortugero counted up to two releases per week. Unfortunately, turtle releases are much more rare than they used to be. Poaching, incidental captures in fishermen nets, collection of eggs and meat for consumption, costal development and ocean pollution are some of the most threatening factors to turtles extinction.
Several organizations, like Grupo Tortugero or ProPeninsula, and beachfront resorts are taking measures and a precaution to address the main threats to turtle’s survival. You can often see organization members and hotel staff on the beaches leading short educational seminars for the public, who then participate in the release of the baby turtles.
Releasing baby turtles into the ocean is one of the magical life moments. During a recent release, we gathered at the hotel’s beach with guests and staff to watch the turtles hatch. Next, we drew a line in the sand and stood behind it, each with a baby turtle in hand. When the word was given, we placed the turtles on the sand and cheered for them to reach the ocean. This was truly an amazing experience for everyone who participated.
Turtle releasing is one of those unique events, and I urge you to join us in this magical moment!