Join one of our nest monitoring patrols on Klein Bonaire

Would you like to learn more about our nest patrols and what we do in the field? Then you can join us on one of our nest patrols to Klein Bonaire!

Nesting season on Bonaire

On Bonaire, sea turtles nest between May and December. Bonaire’s most important nesting site is Klein Bonaire. Every season, approximately 50-70 sea turtle nests are laid in this area alone. Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire (STCB) staff and trained volunteers patrol the beach of Klein Bonaire three mornings per week to look for new activities, such as crawls, attempts and nests. When an activity is found, we stop our patrol to take a closer look at the activity. We start by taking photos of the activity and calculating the exact location with our GPS. We then look for clues which tell us whether a turtle dug a nest and deposited eggs, or whether she returned to the ocean without laying a nest. If we do suspect the activity to be a new nest, we try to locate the eggs so that the nest can be protected during the two months of incubation. Locating a new nest may take up to 30 minutes.

From July onwards, we also check the beach for hatched nests. When we find a nest that has hatched, we excavate the nest to collect data on species and hatching success. We count empty egg shells and dead eggs, take measurements and release hatchlings that were left in the nest (e.g. because they were stuck behind roots). Normally, sea turtle hatchlings will leave their nest at night or very early in the morning as this is the safest time for them to start their journey. By the time that we excavate a nest, most hatchlings will have already made their way to the sea.

Joining a nest monitoring patrol

If you would like to learn more about sea turtles and the work that we do, you can join a nest monitoring patrol on Klein Bonaire. We go on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. We meet at Plaza Marina at 7:30am, from where we will go to Klein Bonaire in our boat. On Klein, we patrol the 2km long beach to look for new activities. You will join our staff and trained volunteers during their patrol. The patrol will take about 3 to 5 hours depending on the number of activities we find – sea turtles are pretty unpredictable, we cannot guarantee finding any activities. Please note that walking is difficult on the wet rocks and in the tide, so suitable footwear is important for your comfort and safety (e.g. sandals, diving boots). We also recommend you bring water and sun block.

To support our work, we ask for a $40 donation for adults and $20 for children under 12 (and residents). This money is used to pay for gasoline for our boat and to make nest barriers for nests that need additional protection.

Interested in joining us? Send an email to cepa@bonaireturtles.org to sign up!

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RSIN: 8240.89.297 | KvK: 7167