Journey on the turtle route: between coral bottoms and tropical forests – iO Donna
Andagle Beach in Aruba, an island opposite Venezuela. Follow the shield and fins and you will arrive in dream waters. Yes, yesit is precisely the sea turtles with the unmistakable carapace that trace the routes to the most beautiful seas on the planet. Yeah, why these placid reptiles among the oldest tetrapods in the world – they choose the most intact places on Earth as their natural habitat. But not only. Their presence is an excellent indicator of the health of the marine-coastal ecosystem: they mainly nourish of jellyfish and algae, and in mature age they return to the beaches where they were born to lay their eggs. Not to mention that they are an attraction for tourism, swimming respectfully with them is an unforgettable experience.
But we must not forget that sea turtles are included in the red list of the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature, iucn.it) among the endangered species. Unfortunately. Here are four destinations in the world that could be considered in all respects “Turtle Fan”, splendid places to explore, above and below the sea.
Aruba, an island with a double soul
In the Sea of Southern Caribbean, the pearl is Aruba (aruba.com/it), constitutive nation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, opposite Venezuela. An island with two souls: the southwest coast is the iconographic tropical one formed by palm trees, hotels and long white beaches such as Eagle Beach and Palm Beachwhile the north-east side shows the most restless character with rocks, cliffs overlooking the impetuous sea, and the Aikok Natural Park dotted with gigantic cacti.
The island, known for its wreck diving, has stood out for its environmental protection policies: ban on the use of plastic bags and disposable items for food and drinks; sunscreens containing oxybenzone harmful to the coral reef are banned. The sensitivity towards a more sustainable world also passes through the Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort, the most ecological hotel in the worldwinner of the United Nations “Global United Nations Climate Action Award for Climate Neutral Now 2020”. Aruba, a paradise for snorkeling on the coral reef, is the Caribbean refuge of sea turtles. In 2003 the Turtugaruba Foundation was born (turtugaruba.org) which takes care of their protection.
Egypt, between coral reef and desert
It is par excellence the tropical home aquarium. In fact, it takes less than four and a half hours of direct flight from Italy to land in Marsa Alam, Egypt. But it is necessary to go beyond the locality to discover a Red Sea that is still intact and not very touristy. About 50 kilometers to the south, in the direction of Berenice, opens the Wadi el Gemal National Park which extends both along the coast for 120 kilometers and in the desert behind it. It is the land of the Bedouin of the Ababda tribeof a wonderful coral reef – among the most intact in the Red Sea – refuge of over one hundred fish species including turtles and rare dugongs, and scenarios without urban speculation.
There are only two hotels in the large protected area. The Gorgonia Beach Resortimmersed in seven hectares of flower gardens, has embraced an eco-sustainable philosophy of solidarity with the environment and economic support for the local population. Specifically: the recycling of water; separate collection in common areas; the days of environmental awareness for guests participating outside the property to clean up the beaches; projects with a local NGO for the development of work for Adabda women with language courses, crafts, environmental guides, and beekeeping, to produce the unusual mangrove honey. The hotel has its own house reef – you can dive from a jetty and immediately swim in a tropical aquarium – and it is also the base for boat tours to the islands of the park, or, by land along the coast to discover dream bays such as the lonely Qulaan, And in the immediate hinterland to immerse yourself in the magic of the gravelly desert, guardian of archaeological sites.
In Brazil, the “limited number” eco-archipelago
Just one hour flight from Recife, the capital of the Brazilian state of Pernambuco, to immerse yourself in the Atlantic Ocean in an amazing eden: the archipelago of Fernando de NoronhaUnesco World Heritage Site since 2001 and protected by Marine National Park (noronha.pe.gov.br). It consists of 21 islandsbut only the main one that gives its name to the whole is inhabited and can be visited, the others (uninhabited) are accessible only to biologists and scientists.
To enjoy the beauty of Fernando de Noronha, it is necessary to follow the strict rules dedicated to environmental conservation: entry for tourists is limited (the daily limit is about 400-500 visitors); to access it, the Taxa de Preservação Ambiental must be paid upon arrival (Tpa) for each day of stay; and another pours to enter the areas of the park which occupies about half of the island and incorporates the most beautiful beaches. Of course, the island is a bit expensive, but the sensations it offers pay off for everything. Considered to be the most fascinating site in Brazil for (unforgettable) diving, it has about fifteen fantastic beaches and coves, such as Baia do Sancho, among the most beautiful in the world, Baia dos Porcos formed by small natural pools and Praia da Atalaia with limited access and with a maximum stay time of 30 minutes. To Fernando, with the highest density of rotador dolphins in the worldthere is also one of the Brazilian offices of the Fundação Projeto Tamar dedicated to the protection of sea turtles that lay their eggs on the Praia do Leão.
Seychelles focuses on the blue economy
I am the flower garden of the Indian Ocean, above and below the sea. That’s right, the Seychelles are 115 islands of amazing nature, between land and water. On the surface it is surrounded by dense forests and tropical flowers (there are about a thousand species of endemic flora), while, underwater, expanses of posidonia, corals, gorgonians and anemones are the underwater “gardens” around which the multicolored liveries of the fish dart clown, parrot, butterfly, angel, just to name the best known. To protect this delicate natural heritage, the Marine Spatial Plan will be completed by December (seymsp.com) wanted by the government and some environmental bodies. IS a mega project intended to protect 30 percent of the Indian Ocean by creating three huge marine reserves (an area larger than Germany), an ambitious “blue economy” initiative that will elevate the Seychelles to a virtuous model for marine conservation.
The amazing biodiversity of the archipelago is visible on the island of Praslin, among the most enchanting. Here, environmental protection is also tangible in luxurious hotel Constance Lemuria Seychellesopen on the Anse Georgette beaches defined among the three most beautiful in the world (it is accessible to all), and Gran Anse Kerlan where every year from February to October the hawksbill and green turtles arrive to lay their eggs. The preservation of these prehistoric animals and the Lemurian landscape environment is monitored and protected by Mister Robert, the “Turtle Manager”a unique professional figure in a resort who collaborates with his team with the Marine Conservation Society of Seychelles. The man with the turtles also welcomes the guests of the resort in a kiosk on the beach to introduce the world of peaceful tetrapods and organizes eco-tours in the vast property of the structure, spread over 101 hectares of pure wonder. A beach in the Seychelles.
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