Six of the Best Places in the World to Swim with Sea Turtles in the wild.
For many people, a chance to swim with sea turtles is a dream come true. There are seven species existing today that can be found swimming and diving to the depths below seas. Sea turtles have been around for over 110 million years – since the time of the dinosaurs. You can swim with turtles on any continent (except Antarctica). So get your swimming costume on, swap sandals for a pair of flippers and get ready to paddle around with one of Earth’s most ancient creatures.
Cook Island Marine Reserve is a small protected island located on the Gold Coast in the south east of Queensland. With plenty of soft and hard coral gardens it’s the perfect sanctuary for a rich marine life. Visitors can see a variety of tropical sea life the including clown fish, damsel fish, angel fish, the occasional manta rays and of course the resident green sea turtles. The turtles can be spotted all year round in these oceans so you’re guaranteed a chance to swim with some when you visit.
When it comes to land animals, Barbados is best known for the green monkeys. Under the Caribbean ocean, Barbados is home to the hawksbill and leatherback turtles. These curious creatures were once endangered due to over-fishing but are now protected and monitored throughout the island. In fact, the fishermen are more friend than foe; many will work hard to look after these aquatic reptiles by feeding them, making sure their nests are safe from harm and scraping barnacles off their backs. The best way to guarantee a sighting of a sea turtle is on a boat ride or scuba. Many Barbados resorts will organise trips for guests to embark on afternoon catamaran cruises for a chance to swim with the turtles.
If you visit Greece during the summer months, you may get the chance to see the loggerhead turtles swimming off Laganas Beach on the island of Zante. The island is considered the most important nesting area in the Mediterranean for the loggerhead turtles. In fact, Greece is the only country in Europe where these species of turtle nest. So that the turtles come back each year and nest in safety the national marine park on the island aims to preserve the natural environment.
Turtle Town is located on the south coast of Maui island and is a beautiful snorkel site and sanctuary for the Hawaiian green sea turtle. These sociable shelled swimmers can be found together in huge numbers roaming around underwater passing the coral reefs and networking with a wide variety of colourful tropical marine life. Because of a series of a series of underwater lava formations caused by the eruptions of submarine volcanoes, the Hawaiian underwater world is a stunning site.
The crystal clear waters of the Maldives are not only perfect for a snorkel session or deep sea dive but also for spotting a bale of turtles – no less than five out of the seven sea turtle species. The green, hawksbill, leatherback, loggerhead and Olive Ridley turtles all call the Maldives home. The Four Seasons Resorts in the Maldives are known to be exceptionally active in protecting the marine environment and the aquatic animals. They run an excellent conservation organisation to help increase the chances of survival of turtle hatchlings.
The small beach town of Akumal, located between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, is considered a place that offers tropical therapy for the soul. Akumal actually translates as ‘place of the turtles’ in the Mayan language and the place certainly lives up to its name.. During the month of May through to October, green sea turtles lay their eggs in the sand and once the babies have hatched they make their own way to the sea. This site is quite extraordinary to see, but if you don’t get the chance to witness it, get your snorkel on and swim for a spot of turtle watching. It’s likely they’ll be found casually grazing on the ocean floor or gliding up to the surface flapping their flippers at passersby and onlookers before diving down to the depths of the ocean floor.
Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons