Turtle Expeditions occur during 2 seasonal stages – one
from late March to October, and the other between May
and August. Driven by ancient impulses, three of the
world’s seven types of sea turtles, the Hawksbill,
Leatherback and Green turtles, come to nest on
Dominica’s southern and eastern beaches.
Join our March – October expeditions to Rosalie beach
(located on Dominica’s east coast), and be a part of a
select few who chance to witness a remarkable event -
giant 1000+ lb., endangered, leatherback sea turtles,
returning to their place of their birth 25 to 30 years
later, to lay their eggs.
Or, during May - August, chance to observe
other types of sea turtles coming from water to beach
to nest, almost every night.
From ALDive Centre, it is about a hour drive up the
Layou River Valley, over the mountains and down to the
east coast’s Rosalie Beach. Once in the area,
expedition members are met by one of the trained beach
patrol guides who escort the group as they walk the
beach, under the stars, in hopes of witnessing a sea
ALDive Expedition groups sometimes experience the turtle
eggs as they hatch and the excitement of observing
hatchlings as they make their scrambling scurry to the
safety of the Atlantic Ocean. In the end, everyone is
left to wonder about the future… that in 30 years or so,
how many today’s babies will lumber back from the depths
to these shores, continuing this timeless process.
We reserve the right to
cancel tours due to weather, safety and
Turtles on the Beach
nights as many as ten or twenty turtles come ashore to nest.
However, they need dry sand to be able to dig the hole where they
will lay their eggs. If they do not find sand suitable for nesting
they return to the ocean.
those perfect nights though, when the sand is right, when the turtle
reaches the shore it will quickly begin digging its nesting hole.
During this process the turtles can be easily distracted into
abandoning their task. Trained guides make sure no overly-curious
observers, get too close.
it so important not to distract a laying turtle? … because there is
a span of at least 30 years from when a female leatherback hatches
to when it returns to its birth beach to lay eggs for the “first”
the turtle starts laying her eggs, she goes into a trance like
state, and will not stop the process until all eggs have been laid
and, ending the process, she has completely covered the nest with
the nesting “trance” guides might allow you to touch a turtle and
take a few photos. Camera flashes are allowed at this time but ONLY
under direction from the guide. During this time guides sometimes
measure and tag turtles for ongoing study purposes. As well, they
might also remove some of the eggs from the nest, transplanting them
to more secure protected nests. Once the now exhausted turtle
recovers from its egg laying experience and trance, it treads
wearily back to the ocean.
The Rosalie Sea Turtle Initiative (RoSTI) project’s goal was
to conserve Dominica's Hawksbill, Leatherback and Green turtles
populations. Working closely with communities island-wide, RoSTI
initially organized educational activities, research and
the Dominica Sea Turtle Conservation Organization (DomSeTCO)
continues the work of RoSTI in training specialized turtle watching
guides and enlightening the local communities. The DomSeTCO beach
patrollers play an integral role in the protection of these animals
and have special access to the beach. No expedition is conducted
without the guidance one of these specialized guides.
Leatherback turtle is the largest of all sea turtles and can grow to
lengths of 8 feet (2.4 meters) with a body width span, from the tip
of one front flipper to the tip of the other, 10 feet (3 meters).
They can weigh up to 1000 pounds. They have been known to dive 4000
feet below the surface. Sea turtles can live for an average of 50
to 70 years.
Turtles in Dominica, as in many other countries where giant turtles
nest, have been hunted for their shell, meat and eggs. Some believe
that eating turtle eggs is good aphrodisiac. However, this is
nothing more than a wives tale and is completely untrue. There is
no law in Dominica preventing people from eating turtle meat.
Fortunately, the work done by RoSTI and DomSeTCO has effectively
increased awareness in the importance of protecting sea turtles;
local killing of turtles has noticeably diminished, though
unfortunately not completely.
Scuba Diving and W.A.T.E.R. Sports adheres to the Marine
Mammal Codes of Conduct:
a modified compilation of
existing international regulations.