We’re proud to shout from the peak of the island’s highest mountain that leatherback turtles – the largest living species of reptile dating back to the era of dinosaurs, nest on the beaches of Pure Grenada!
Levera Beach in the parish of St. Patrick’s is home to Grenada’s largest Leatherback nesting population. Surfacing in our tropical waters from the months of March through to August, Leatherback turtles return to the Grenadian beaches they were born every two years to lay their eggs. Sadly, these gentle giants are now critically endangered with only 1 in every 1000 hatchlings surviving to adulthood. The risk of human predators, marine pollution and climate change has adverse effects on the remaining 35,000 living females in the world, who can lay up to 90 eggs when they visit our shores. What’s more, leatherbacks dive to depths of 1000m, and migrate long distances, from as far as Ireland and Western Africa to the Caribbean.
There are so many reasons why it’s extremely important for us to protect this remarkable species. In response, to the global call for enhanced conservation, in 2010 Grenada created the first ever ‘Closed Beach Policy’, a fisheries regulation that closes Levera Beach at night during the leatherback-nesting season. This also allows us to offer an intimate turtle tour experience that will not only amaze you, but also encourage a heartfelt connection with leatherback turtles and their often risky journey.
St. Patrick’s Environmental and Community Tourism (SPECTO) is a rural conservation group and the largest national advocates for leatherback turtle conservation. SPECTO works with community members to raise awareness of the need to protect this almost extinct species. During the nesting season, the SPECTO team treks the beach every night leading groups of visitors and residents through the nesting process – a must-see, educational and fascinating experience for all ages.
Tours start at the Turtle Center on Bathway Beach at 7:30pm with a short presentation where you learn invaluable information about the history of leatherbacks, conservation efforts in Grenada and essential beach rules so no harm or distraction is caused during nesting.
Patiently waiting on the beach at night to witness female Leatherbacks gradually emerge from the ocean while the waves rush over their leathery shells is startling at first. As the eyes become accustomed to the darkness, it will be hard to take your eyes off these intelligent creatures, as they shuffle along the sand to find a spot to dig their 70cm deep nest. If you’re patient enough, you can watch everything from the laying of eggs to returning to the sea and on a busy night you may see more than one. Leatherbacks are determined, powerful creatures so be sure to watch out when they flick the sand to camouflage their nest.
St. Patrick’s is traditionally known as Grenada’s historic parish and boasts many artifacts of our ancestral Kalinago, Taino and European past. So before you start your SPECTO tour, visit River Antoine Rum Distillery, the oldest functioning water-propelled distillery throughout the Caribbean. If you’d like to devour a delicious authentic Grenadian dish just before, stop by Belmont Estate and be enlightened by their Agri-Tourism experience.
Money generated by SPECTO tours go directly into the rural communities of St. Patrick’s helping to implement panel discussions on climate change and biodiversity in the community. Nesting tours are given every day during the nesting season from March through the end of July. To book a SPECTO Tour, get in touch with SPECTO on 442 2721 or email them at email@example.com. You can also shoot them a message on Facebook and Twitter @SPECTOGrenada.