Caribbean, Countries, Culture, UK

Elsa heroes in Bim half-shell

Barbados is a blessed island not least because it escapes the hurricane season…  but today we bring you  Elsa Bim heroes in half-shell.

Bim, as it’s affectionately known, last had to brave a hurricane, Janet, in 1955.

Until now with Elsa deciding to swoop to the southern islands.

Irie Barbados: With Jevan and Donna

My old West Indian pal Jevan has posted images from Barbados of Elsa at her fiercest.

Thankfully though Elsa has not been too vengeful to Bim.

No, not that one

With Jevan reporting that his only loss is some banana trees and potted plants.

While best and most surprising of all was a new appearance when Jevan braved the storms to check on his tortoises.

And discovered that one Mother Tortoises of his had given birth in the Hurricane.

Shell Superstars

West Indians proudly value their heroes in a half-shell, both tortoises and turtles.

And I even had to return to Bim to find me the swimming turtles I had missed the year before.

Probably because they were taking shelter from my boozy rum breath.

And we don’t even need a sea

Tortoises and turtles are made for the Caribbean, moving at a slow, casual place. Irie!

And they have a natural homing instinct as you all know from me having flagged up Aruban nesting turtles.

While, of course all our favourite small islands look out for their visitors.

But I prefer land

And few more passionately than Mother Turtle in the Maldives.

What’s the difference?

Of course, the question that has been racking our brains as we replay Jevan’s video is…

What is the difference between a turtle and a tortoise?

You looking at me?

The Scary One won’t be convinced… a tortoise is more a landlubber while turtles prefer to give you the runaround in the sea.

Elsa Bim heroes in half-shell

I’m beginning to think this is her plan to get me to take her out to Bim.

Barbados and much of the Caribbean is on the UK green list so what’s keeping you.

And Tropical Sky will look after you.

So welcome to Jevan’s menagerie… here’s to Elsa Bim heroes in half-shell.


Caribbean, Countries, Culture

Aruba and Mother Turtle

Arriba, arriba Aruba and Mother Turtle…. we’re joining the countdown to the hatching of their chicks.

Now I’m indebted to my old friend (less of the old, Bandanaman) and award-winning Travel blogger and Caribbeanophile Tara Povey for showing me the marvel that is a turtle march.

Tara videod her turtles under the cover of darkness in Barbados, waddling out of the sea and onto the hatching beaches.

Loggerhead turtle

While the rest of us went snorkelling (translation: swallowing) off our catamaran on our expedition.

Although I did get to see me my turtles when I returned to Bim the next year.

Heroes in a half-shell

Now because we like to share the love in good old Caribbean style I’m shining the spotlight now on Aruba, off the coast of Venezuela.

Green turtle

Our Aruban friends have invited us to join them in counting down to their turtle hatches this summer and autumn on Eagle Beach.

Some of their breeds have in fact started early… with the first Leatherback nest laid this season for Bucuti & Tara resort.

Not Our Tara though… or is it?

Hawksbill turtle

Don’t worry that you might have missed out, the Green, Loggerhead and Hawksbill sea turtles are still to pop their heads up.

The turtle package

Now we’ve trodden the turtle path here before in our occasional Travel Pack series but make no apologies for going turtley overboard here again.

So pay attention at the back, there will be questions later…

The hatching

Now our heroes in a half-shell really, really love Aruba which is a constituent part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Because they travel 1,350 miles every year from Canada to the warmer beaches of Aruba to hatch.

So what’s our excuse?

Mother Turtle

Well, it is their own birthplace and they obviously want their little ones to be Arubans too.

Making her mark

Mother Turtle lays an average of seven nests in one season with each averaging 80 viable eggs.

After an incubation period of 55 to 75 days, hatchings emerge from the sand and make their way to the sea.

And little scene-stealers them they often use their moonlight as their guide.

Now Buculi & Tara know their turtles and their hatching habits and they help their visitors witness the turtle trail.

Godmother Turtle I: Edith in Aruba

They will call, or text, you when a turtle shows signs of hatching so you can get out and see it for yourself.

Now Modern Man is told that witnessing his offspring being born is beautiful.

But hands up, squeamish old me found it a challenge… the Scary One should have been in my shoes.

Protect our turtles

A nice clean turtle hatch is more for feardies like me.

Godmother Turtle

Now every Mother Turtle needs a Godmother Turtle.

And in Kuramathi and Kandolhu in the Maldives that was German carer Vanessa and who, admission time here, did have her favourite… Selma.

And if you want to follow the turtles

Vanessa, and anyone who devotes their life to turtles, will tell you exactly what you need to do to protect them.

Godmother Turtle II: Vanessa in the Maldives

In Aruba, that would be Edith, president of Turtugaruba, who teaches visitors about the life cycle of sea turtles in Aruba.

And how best to protest them.

So Arriba, arriba Aruba and Mother Turtle.