We had the opportunity to join Naked Turtle Rum down in Nevis for their Sea Turtle Conservancy weekend! In partnership with the Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) and Four Seasons Resort Nevis, Naked Turtle Rum brought an awesome group of people together to learn more about ways to help save sea turtles and to see the STC’s conservation work first hand.
My love for sea turtles formed when we started visiting Hawai’i about a decade ago. They are frequent visitors to the beaches, often found napping on the sand and swimming at our favorite spots. Sea turtles have such a graceful, calm energy about them and I find them absolutely captivating.
Since our move down to the islands, we have become much more aware of the impact humans are having on our ocean and the wildlife that inhabits the ocean. I share about plastic pollution often on my Instagram + we have completely changed our habits at home to use as little plastic + toxic products as possible. You might have seen the video that went viral of a person fishing a plastic straw out of a turtle’s face. . . that alone was enough for me to halt my use of plastic straws. Sea turtles are such important animals and play a large role in the ocean ecosystem!
Healthy sea turtles = a healthier world at large.
This species is one of the best ways to gauge the condition of the environment.
The STC has chosen sea turtles as the focus of its conservation efforts in part because these ancient creatures are among the most important indicators of the health of the world’s marine and coastal ecosystems. The STC believes that whether sea turtles ultimately vanish from the planet or remain a wild and thriving part of the natural world, will speak volumes about both the general health of the planet and the ability of humans to sustainably coexist with the diversity of life on earth.
It is the Sea Turtle Conservancy‘s mission to ensure the survival of sea turtles within the Caribbean, Atlantic and Pacific through research, education, training, advocacy and protection of the natural habitats upon which they depend.
The threats facing sea turtles are numerous and, for the most part, humans are the problem. For those of us trying to protect sea turtles, it is a mixed ‘blessing’ that so many threats are human-caused. On one hand, it is very hard to change human behavior but on the other hand, at least there is hope for eliminating threats if enough people are aware and passionate about creating change. If sea turtles were going extinct because of geological or climatic changes alone, there would be very little we could do to help but since it’s our behavior as humans – we can be the positive change.
Some immediate action items for protecting sea turtles include:
- Decrease the amount of plastic pollution causing harm to our sea turtles and other wildlife. Eliminate the use of plastic straws, bags, water bottles, cups and lids in our daily lives.Here’s a simple step with this: choose *one* thing you can do to help and stick to it. Whether that is not getting a coffee to go unless you bring your reusable cup or picking up just FIVE pieces of trash next time you’re at the beach. You can start small + go from there!
- Enjoy Naked Turtle Rum – every bottle made saves a baby sea turtle!
- Protect nesting beaches by establishing parks and refuges or through regulations combined with public education initiatives.
- Eliminate disturbances at nesting beaches by decreasing artificial lighting, halting beach armoring, regulating beach nourishment and limiting the impacts of people on the beach.
- Enforce national and international laws to minimize the dumping of pollutants and solid waste into the ocean and nearshore waters.
- Crack down on illegal international trade in sea turtles and their products by enforcing laws and agreements.
- Decrease the turtle deaths caused by commercial fishing through enforcement of Turtle Excluder Device (TED) and gill net regulations.
- Continue research and monitoring activities so that the population can be monitored and conservation efforts can be focused where they are most needed.
In August 2006, the Sea Turtle Conservancy, the Four Seasons Resort Nevis and the Nevis Turtle Group began an inaugural sea turtle research and conservation project to study the migration patterns of critically endangered hawksbill sea turtles nesting along the Caribbean coast of Nevis in the West Indies. The study will reveal important information about the turtle’s migratory behavior, which will help both conservationists and natural resource managers to improve protection efforts for this endangered species. To date, seventeen hawksbills have been tracked since the start of the program.
While we were down on this trip, we helped look for nesting sea turtles along the shores of Nevis at both Lovers Beach and Cades Bay. We were able to find one fairly early on in the night and had the honor of watching her lay her eggs. It was crazy being out there to witness that and was like something off of Discovery Channel. Once she was finished nesting, the STC members brought the turtle back to the resort, where she was fitted with a satellite transmitter and released back into the sea the following morning (the photos above are from this year’s release).
The satellite transmitter attached to each hawksbill sends signals to orbiting satellites each time the turtles surface to breath. The data will be collected and downloaded to STC researchers. Educational migration maps will show the best location points of the turtle’s movements and locations. This allows researchers to discover where the sea turtles travel after nesting and study their migration patterns. Also, interested people all over the world can follow along their journey. You can track Naked Turtle’s 2018 adopted sea turtle named ‘Colada’ by clicking here!
In between the presentation on sea turtles, our journey to watch them nest and the morning turtle release, we had the opportunity to go out on a catamaran, dock at this beautiful cove and snorkel. This gave us some time to better get to know some of the other passionate creatives who were on the trip with us! Among them were Danni + her other half Zach and Anastasia. We connected over our shared love for the ocean – Danni is a TV host of an educational science program and Anastasia is a professional surfer who grew up in Hawai’i.
Something that brought so much joy to my heart was seeing how ALIVE the coral reef was in the ocean surrounding St. Kitts! WOW! Our reef in Hawai’i is almost completely dead and has a grayish tint to all of the reef due to coral bleaching caused by toxic sunscreen and rising water temperatures which is extremely sad. Seeing this reef thriving in the Caribbean reinvigorated my desire to share about reef-safe sunscreen (be sure to read my blogpost about it!) and to be proactive in helping push policy in Hawai’i towards saving and restoring these ecosystems.
On our last day, we had an awesome *plastic free* cocktail class where we learned how to make some awesome naked cocktails and what makes Naked Turtle Rum truly ‘naked’! Their delicious white rum is crafted with quality sugarcane molasses and bottled ‘naked,’ which means it never touches the inside of an oak barrel for a bright finish. They’re also five-times distilled with the pristine waters of the U.S. Virgin Islands and has no preservatives. The ‘Naked Colada’ was a crowd favorite during the mixology contest but my favorite was the ‘Spicy Island Turtle’ which had infused rosemary Naked Turtle Rum, mango puree, local mango-pepper hot sauce, lemon and a brown sugar, caribbean jerk spice rimmed glass. YUM!
I love that Naked Turtle and their team are passionate about living life to the fullest, having fun + making a positive global impact. With the help of the Sea Turtle Conservancy, The Naked Turtle has saved 391,998 sea turtles and counting! It was an incredible, educational weekend and I’m so glad we experienced this.
Join me in keeping our oceans clean and plastic-free by always choosing reusable (or paper) cups, bags and straws. Always avoid plastic water bottles and utensils by carrying a reusable bottle and utensils. It’s awesome how easy it is to incorporate reusable items into your life once you start paying attention and giving a shit! Our oceans and our planet deserve our attention. Join me in taking responsibility and making an impact!