The Sea Turtle Awareness Distinctive Specialty course

OstionalRight now in Ostional, Costa Rica it is turtle season. The nesting season is known in Costa Rica as Arribadas; this means tons of turtles will come to the beach to put their eggs and hopefully in about 6 weeks the little ones will crawl to the ocean safe and sound.  We all know this is not always the case, we all follow the news, social media and watch discovery channel.  Stories of locals stealing the eggs to sell for consumption.  This is a true fact but I have to say I was surprised last Sunday to see how protective the locals were; telling people not to run, chasing away vultures and keeping the dogs away from the nests.  I saw nobody even attempting to grab a single egg 🙂

Because the season has started we now offer The Sea Turtle Awareness Distinctive Specialty course.

this course introduces divers and snorkelers to basic sea turtle identification and conservation.

The goals of Sea Turtle Awareness course training are:

• To familiarize students with the role of Project AWARE in preserving the aquatic environment.

• To introduce sea turtle species common in temperate or tropical waters.

• To provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to identify turtles and record sightings.

• To inform students about decline in sea turtle populations, importance of sea turtles to marine biodiversity and what they can do to reduce the loss of sea turtles worldwide. turtle

What is Project AWARE’s Mission and Purpose?

Project AWARE is dedicated to conserving underwater environments through education, advocacy and action. We partner with divers and water enthusiasts to protect aquatic environments around the world and involve them in environmental projects, activities and campaigns working toward global conservation solutions.

What role do sea turtles play in the marine ecosystem?

Because ecosystems are composed of interrelated elements, anything that affects one element usually has a rippling effect throughout

the whole ecosystem. Sea turtles, as marine and terrestrial animals, play important roles in the marine as well as the beach and dune ecosystems.

• Sea grass. Sea turtles help to keep sea grass healthy because their grazing action helps it grow across the sea floor. In addition, turtles digest the sea grass leaves, which are then made available as nutrients to other organisms. Sea grass beds are among the most valuable ecosystems due to this nutrient recycling action.

• Coral reefs. Hawksbill turtles feed predominantly on coral reef sponges. This helps control sponges that might otherwise outcompete corals for space on reefs.

• Open ocean. Leatherback turtles are one of the few marine animals that consume jellyfish – helping balance jellyfish populations in the open ocean.

You have to admit these are some interesting facts and now your curiosity is tickled?  Join us for the Turtle Specialty!  We will give you as much information as possible and of course the best time to do this is during the season,

Costa Rica is a primary nesting site for four species of Sea Turtles; Leatherback, Green, Hawksbill and Olive Ridley Sea Turtles. These turtles utilize beaches on both the Caribbean and Pacific side and have done so for thousands of years. Turtles nearly always nest late in the afternoon or at night and hatchlings come out at this time as well after an average 45 day incubation period. I will list some of the beaches for you to go to and observe these arribadas.  If you are interested in joining our turtle conservation course I would recommend you plan a trip to any of the beaches below either before or after the course.DSC_17102013c

Playa Nancite:  primary nesting site for Olive Ridley Turtles. July-November

Las Baulas:  Closely Located near Tamarindo in Guanacaste,  a primary nesting site  for the giant Leatherback Turtles , October-February.

Ostional : primary nesting site for Olive Ridley Turtles, about 2 hours from Coco. This occurs monthly from May-November; all depending on the moon

Camaronal: The refuge is located just south of Samara and is probably the most consistent place to observe turtles nearly year round. Three species come to nest here at various time of the year including Hawksbill, Leatherback and, Olive Ridley Sea Turtles. Most turtles come between May-November, but stragglers can be observed nearly every night from February-December.

Finca Baru:  a nesting site for Olive Ridley Turtles.  July-November.

Tortuguero: The Park is probably the most known turtle nesting site in Costa Rica. Atlantic Green Sea Turtles utilize the beaches here for nesting from July-October.

Cahuita: Four species of turtles come to nest on Playa Vargas each year; Atlantic Green, Hawksbill, Leatherback and Loggerhead. Atlantic Green Turtles  July-October, Leatherbacks March-July. Both Loggerhead and Hawksbill Turtles  February-May.

Gandoca Manzanillo: Located on the Caribbean coast, several species of turtles nest here; Atlantic Green, Hawksbill, Leatherback and Loggerhead.  March-May.
For more info send us an email: dive@richcoastdiving.comarribadas

Now lets look forward to Sarah’s famous true facts on turtles!

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