When I was a little girl, my parents took my sister and I out of school for a few months and took us sailing around the Great Barrier Reef. One of the most memorable islands we visited was Heron Island which is a natural coral cay, visited annually by great mamma turtles intent on laying their eggs. The photo below shows this spectacular island which you can walk around in 20 minutes. Click here for more information on Heron Island.
While we were on the island some baby turtles had hatched and were being taken care of by an organization on the island helping these turtles reach adulthood. Here is a photo below of my sister Cristi (the cute blonde one) and I holding our baby turtles.
Fast forward a few years and my husband & I had bought our own boat and were sailing across the Atlantic Ocean from Cape Town South Africa to the Caribbean. One of our few pit stops was on Ascension Island, a 34 square mile island thousands of miles away from Africa on one side and South America on the other side. See the photo below to get an idea of how isolated this island is, and the red dots show our route.
So we arrived on this island, put the dinghy in the water, and went ashore. Cleared in with local customs and immigration and went off to find the "Diner" at the local US Airforce Base. We had been hearing about this Diner from other yachts for months, and we were SO hungry for real food after weeks of rice, and beans that we loved every minute of eating Corn Dogs, Hot Dogs, and Chilli Dogs while listening to Bruce Springsteen playing on an old fashion Duke Box. After eating way too much food, we went back to the boat and slept like the exhausted sailors we were. We woke in the morning and looked ashore, and the beach in front of us was completely covered in these large track marks. It looked like several people had torn up the beach on quad bikes all night. What could that be? Only at dusk that night when we saw all these big turtles coming ashore, did we realize that those were the tracks of mamma turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs. Hundreds of them! This photo below I found on the Ascension Island website and is that exact beach.
So we carried on our journey to the Caribbean. Months later while anchored in the Caribbean we were horrified to see some local guys who had been snorkeling around the anchorage had a 25cm turtle tied up with a rope and were towing it behind their dinghy. It was struggling against the rope, flapping around and slowly drowning. These people seemed to have NO IDEA that this was a highly endangered creature !
Did you know that 6 out of 7 species of turtles around the world are endangered?
So now when I got the request from our retailers for a TURTLE sarong and tunic in our collection, I thought it fitting to find an organisation who is doing their upmost to protect turtle nesting beaches, and educate people about sea turtles. So 10% of our sales of these items will be donated to SEE Turtles. They have an amazing program called Billion Baby Turtles, and for every dollar donated they are able to save a baby turtle. To date they have saved 500,000 baby turtles. How many more can we help them save? Here is a link to the SEE Turtles Facebook page, and they are also on Twitter here.