Category Archives: Turtles

10 things I’m going to miss about Statia

In little more than one week I will be moving back to Curacao. There are many nice things to look forward to, but of course there are things I am going to miss too. Except for my friends, young and old, and special people I met, these are the 10 things I will miss most of all about the Golden Rock:

1. The travel time

Wherever you are on Statia and wherever you need to go, travel time is minimal on an island of 21 km2. Have an appointment at 11:00 sharp? Leave home at 11:00 and you will be right on time, Statia time.

2. My scooter

Although I sometimes have to tape my scooter to prevent it from falling apart, I love my blue monster. No need for air conditioning, the wind through your hair and Makeda’s arms around my waist.

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3. My running route

As a runner you love certain roads. I will miss running the road to the Botanical Garden and the road at Lynch going down towards the Berkel plantation.

road

4. The animal shelter

For almost two years I have been volunteering at the SEAWF animal shelter. How I will miss all these cuddles!

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5. The roaming animals

Although there are roaming animals on Curacao, it is nothing compared to the number of cattle and goats on Statia. I know, they are supposed to be fenced and kept under control, but I still love it when a big  bull is slowly peering through the shutters of the pub.

6. Everybody greeting each other

On Statia everybody is greeting each other. Waving, honking, nodding, “good morning”. I think I’m going to stick with this habit on Curacao.

7. The Leatherbacks swim team

Makeda has been swimming with the Leatherbacks since almost two years and I have been a coach for a year and a half. I will miss all my kids, the swim meets to St Maarten and St Croix, the fun we had and even the times they drove me crazy 🙂 I love you, guys!

Leatherbacks

8. Turtles hatching 

I’ve witnessed Leatherback turtles, Green turtles and Hawksbill turtles hatch on Zeelandia beach a few times. This is so special!

LB

9. My big yard with fruit trees

Mango’s, guavas, bananas, soursop, starfruit, cherries, cashews, sugarapple, papaya… and a hammock.

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10. The chance to find my own blue bead

Blue beads are very special for St Eustatius. I have been given one by someone special, but I never found my own. If you find your own, or as some say ‘if a blue bead finds you’, you will always come back  to Statia.

We’ll see where the wind takes me.

Next: 10 things I’m looking forward to about Curacao.

 

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United forces at CNSI

U

On April 24 and 25 the Caribbean Netherlands Science Institute (CNSI) was officially opened in St. Eustatius. To celebrate this, many presentations were held pertaining to the reefs, fisheries, marine and terrestrial reserves, agriculture, tourism, vegetation, research studies, archaeology, diving, history, public health and geology of St. Eustatius, the Dutch Caribbean and the Caribbean in general. Scientists and students from all over the world were present, as well as representatives of Naturalis in Leiden, the University of Wageningen and other universities, Carmabi, NIOZ (Royal Netherlands Institute for sea research) and many more.

audience

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A local lunch was held at the beautiful Lynch family plantation. The endangered Lesser Antillean Iguana came to visit.

lunch

 

iguana

 

Governor Gerald Berkel, commissioner Carlyle Tearr and father Raffi of the Roman Catholic Church blessed the new institute, the STENAPA Junior Rangers gave a presentation about the formation of St. Eustatius and the brass band under guidance of maestro Dennis Amajan gave a great show. A big success by organiser Johan Stapel.

opening

Jos Rokx of the Netherlands Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, Island Governor Gerald Berkel and Edwin van Huis, director of Naturalis Biodiversity Centre in the Netherlands.

All in all a great initiative to promote and facilitate more research on our little Golden Rock!

Photos by http://www.cnsi.nl

Knock knock, who’s hatching?

Knock Knock!    K

I  know I’m blessed. Happy, lucky and blessed! 😀

This morning I witnessed 81 Hawksbill turtles hatching on Zeelandia beach, THE sea turtle nesting beach in the Caribbean Netherlands. This is the 7th Hawksbill nest already for this season.

Apart from Hawksbill, also the Green turtle and the critically endangered Leatherback nest here, thanks to the never-ending sea turtle protection by Stenapa. Last month the entrance to this beach was finally blocked for vehicles, to prevent illegal sand mining here (high 5 for NuStar for their support). Sea turtles always come back to lay there eggs on the same beach where they are born, so it’s extremely important to keep this beach in good shape for the future generations of turtles.

entrance Zeelandia

Also worth mentioning here: the Stenapa Junior Rangers, small kids with a big future!

Stenapa Junior Rangers sign

Last year I witnessed a Leatherback nest hatching. There’s a clear difference between the two. The Hawksbill is much smaller than the Leatherback. Also, the Hawksbill has a “real” shell, while the Leatherback’s back is, well, leathery (I’m a genius).

First the baby turtles just look like moving sand.

first they look like moving sand

Everybody get your camera ready! Also the kids from the NuStar school were there. Last week two groups from the Golden Rock school had the privilege to watch this miracle.

get ready with your camera

There you go!

hawksbills there you go

hawksbills 78

hawksbills 83

These guys and girls must be pretty smart. Without too many problems they can find their way to the sea. Follow the light! During this short time on the beach (maximum half an hour I’d guess, and that would be a very slow turtle) they have to learn to remember this beach. Thirty years later they will come back to the same spot! I can see the smartness in this turtle’s eyes.

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There are ups and downs.

hawksbill ups and downs

Those human footprints are not an easy hurdle to take.

hawksbill in footprint

Follow the leader.

follow the hawksbill leader

It’s a long way for a tiny turtle.

it's a long way for a hawksbill

Almost there. Get ready for the big splash!

hawksbill ready for the splash

See you in 30 years!