Turtle Time at Four Seasons Punta Mita

You might reasonably assume with all my five-star resort visits, I’ve witnessed or participated in a turtle release program. In the Maldives, I saw turtle nests protected by small fences and signs noting the impending egg hatching but have always missed the birth events.

Just as I headed into my Tequila Blending class at the Four Seasons Punta Mita, I passed a small poster that mentioned Turtle Release at Sunset. I popped back into the gallery and enthusiastically signed us up for the evening release.

It all began in 2011 when a group of turtle biologists convened to discuss what they could do about the continued threat to aquatic turtles. Conservation efforts began in the states of Jalisco and Nayarit along the Pacific Ocean over 20 years ago; working to educate, conserve and protect. The greatest threats to these turtles are poachers who harvest their eggs and meat, marine pollution and fishing nets. These local programs patrol the beaches for poachers and provide safe hatcheries for the eggs to hatch in and include inviting tourists to participate in the release program.

Image result for turtle bins from the 50s with palm tree

Do you remember having a turtle lagoon?

Trailing a massive monsoon type storm that threatened to cancel the release, we awaited the call, the sun broke through the clouds and we rushed to meet our class lecture. We enjoyed an informative lecture with Enrique Alejos, the Resort’s Cultural Concierge and also the ‘father’ of the FS turtle program. He brought in a bin of freshly hatched wriggly turtles. A tip off to my generation, I mentioned these turtles looked just like the little turtles we bought at the County Fair every summer – perhaps you remember having a kidney shaped turtle lagoon, graced by an arching palm tree planted into the island? Small oval tins of flaked turtle food and occasional lettuce or hamburger supplements kept these ‘pets’ healthy and happy.

Enrique explained we should not touch the turtles for several reasons – humans can contract Salmonella from turtles and in the US the FDA banned the sale of the these small pet turtles in 1975 due to Salmonella issues.

Olive Ridley Sea Turtles Four Seasons Punta Mita

Baby turtles, scrambling over each other’s backs, climbing the walls of the bin elicited giggles and shrieks of delight from all of us – there was only one child in our group of five turtle releasers!

We were each given a bin of 10 Olive Ridley Sea Turtles and excitedly carried them to the beach. The sun was setting, the rains encouraged the birds to nest, so few predators loomed nearby, Enrique drew a line in the sand about six feet from the surf. Protective ‘parents’ for a few brief moments, we gently released our turtle babies on the sand, verbally encouraging them to move and explore and return to the sea. On the first day of their life, we wished them long and safe Journeys, knowing they have imprinted with this sand, this sea, they most likely will return to this same location in 15 years to lay a nest of their own.

Olive Ridley Sea Turtles Four Seasons Punta Mita

To say we were misty eyed, is not an exaggeration, it was a moving and educational experience, life continuing on, travel again broadening an experience. Nothing more wondrous than watching these newly hatched turtles scramble to the sea. Through big and small actions, we can all share a part in reducing the threat to these turtles, an intrinsic connection between nature’s well being and our own.

Turtle Facts:
A nest of eggs is called a clutch.
• A clutch can contain up to 100 eggs.
• The eggs will incubate in the nest for 45 days.
• They are born with a little attached food sack that will last them for their first 3 days.
• They are omnivores, with their favorite treat being jellyfish.
• They travel thousands of miles each year.
• They will return to the same location in 15 years to lay a nest of their own.
• They can live to be 50 years old.

Olive Ridley Sea Turtles heading to the sea at Four Seasons Punta Mita

Four Seasons Punta Mita

The Four Seasons Turtle Release generally runs March through December there is a small fee that is completely designated to support the sea turtle conservation. In 2017, almost two million baby turtles where released only in the Banderas Bay area.

If it could only be like this always – always summer

Summer Hammock Chable Resort Merida

The Point Resort

Summer was on the way; Jem and I awaited it with impatience. Summer was our best season: it was sleeping on the back screened porch in cots, or trying to sleep in the tree house; summer was everything good to eat; it was a thousand colors in a parched landscape; but most of all, summer was Dill.”   ―Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Lisbon Flower Shop

“In the summer, the days were long, stretching into each other. Out of school, everything was on pause and yet happening at the same time, this collection of weeks when anything was possible.”   ―Sarah Dessen, Along for the Ride

One & Only Cabo

Outdoor Shower Chable Resort Merida Mexico

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”  —F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Puglia, Italy

Lake Como Villa d’ Este Aperol Spritz

“We thread our way through a moving forest of ice-cream cones and crimson thighs.” ―Jean-Dominique Bauby, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Lake Como Summer Lunch Villa d’Este

Puglia Coconut Treats

“When people went on vacation, they shed their home skins, thought they could be a new person.” ―Aimee Friedman, Sea Change

Puglia

Lanai Four Seasons Hotel

“At these times, the things that troubled her seemed far away and unimportant: all that mattered was the hum of the bees and the chirp of birdsong, the way the sun gleamed on the edge of a blue wildflower, the distant bleat and clink of grazing goats.”  ―Alison Croggon, The Naming

Puglia

Ol Doyno Lodge Kenya

“All in all, it was a never to be forgotten summer — one of those summers which come seldom into any life, but leave a rich heritage of beautiful memories in their going — one of those summers which, in a fortunate combination of delightful weather, delightful friends and delightful doing, come as near to perfection as anything can come in this world.”

—L.M. Montgomery, Anne’s House of Dreams