#1 TO WALK YOUR DOG
This was last year’s dog walk organized by the St. Eustatius Animal Welfare Foundation.
#2 FOR A STORMY DAY
#3 FOR EDUCATIONAL TRIPS
#4 TO SEE HAWKSBILL TURTLES HATCH
#5 TO SEE LEATHERBACK TURTLES HATCH
More pros of living on Statia:
Monday April 28 STENAPA (St. Eustatius National Parks Foundation) held its first Bird (Vogel) Festival.
After being tested what our knowledge of the local birds was -I admit, I am terrible in identifying birds- we made a guided walk through town to spot the local beauties.
Spotting and identifying the birds is hard enough as it is, taking sharp pictures of them is a nightmare. Most of my pictures looked like this:
Not a bird in sight!
We spotted our national bird, the Kili Kili…
and many more, that of course wouldn’t sit quiet.
Back in the library, there was enough to do for young and old.
In the end prizes (camera’s, binoculars and bird books) were given out to the kids that handed in the most beautiful picture or drawing of a bird. The jury, that consisted of two professional iguana-watchers that visited the island for the opening seminar of CNSI, had a hard time.
More pros of living on Statia:
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.
A local lunch was held at the beautiful Lynch family plantation. The endangered Lesser Antillean Iguana came to visit.
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.
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
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.
Also worth mentioning here: the Stenapa Junior Rangers, small kids with a big future!
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.
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.
There you go!
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.
There are ups and downs.
Those human footprints are not an easy hurdle to take.
Follow the leader.
It’s a long way for a tiny turtle.
Almost there. Get ready for the big splash!
See you in 30 years!
A few months ago I witnessed Leatherback sea turtles hatching on Zeelandia beach in St. Eustatius. They are an endangered species, so not something you will see every day.
Here are some of my best shots, followed by three small video’s. Enjoy and… long live the Leatherbacks! 😀
From the BBC series about dolphins.