Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Place of the Turtles

"Green Sea Turtle in Flight"  Prints Available here

Green Sea Turtles are a bit like cows. Sea cows. Cows of the sea.  I have had several wonderful occasions to observe them over the years, but have never had quite the experience that I did at Akumal. Akumal beach, in the Yucat√°n, is a habitat for the endangered green sea turtle. In Mayan, Akumal means “the place of the turtles.” And the place of the turtles it is indeed.

There is no scuba diving allowed at Akumal, which is why, initially, I wasn’t very excited about it. I wanted to be down there with the turtles, not snorkeling above them. But I can be an idiot sometimes. Above or below, it was hands down the best sea turtle encounter I’ve had as of yet. For one, the bay is very shallow- 2-10 feet at most, so even with a snorkel I was right there. And there were just so many turtles- in an hour I saw 20, maybe thirty.

They were not curious about me in the least. Since Akumal is a habitat, they see people all the time, who never do them any harm. I on the other hand, was very curious about them and followed them around like a deranged fan with a Polaroid camera. They munched on the sea grass. Very cute, the munching. These were juveniles I was observing, nowhere near the size of their 700 pound parents.


I was lucky to catch a few waiting at cleaning stations- yes, waiting. It was… Amazing. The cleaning stations, and the whole experience. For those traveling to the Yucatan, I would highly recommend it as a stop. It’s just about an hour drive from Playa Del Carmen, and car rentals are relatively painless.