Certain guests, those going by the name of Green Sea Turtles, when arriving by sea onto the beach at Divi Little Bay Beach Resort will receive special accommodations and an unlimited stay. The policy was announced when a female Green Sea Turtle “checked in” to the Divi Little Bay Resort the weekend of August 25, looking for a place to deposit as many as 200 Green Sea Turtle eggs.
Management at Divi Little Bay also announced 24-hour protection and, in addition, that any and all measures will be taken to ensure these guests total privacy for the duration of their stay, which could be as long as two months.
On August 25, a female Green Sea Turtle came ashore at the Divi Little Bay Resort in St. Maarten to lay her eggs. She arrived at night, which is the custom of sea turtles. When the hotel’s regular guests spotted the turtle, it was apparent that she was having difficulty building her nest due to the rocks and debris left in the wake of Hurricane Isaac. Staff at the hotel quickly summoned the St. Maarten Nature Foundation, which arrived to help clear the beach.
After about four hours of digging with her front and back flippers, the turtle laid her eggs, covered the nest with sand and returned to sea. Divi staff then cordoned off the area to keep human visitors from disturbing the nest during the incubation period. The nest is about 50 feet from the front desk and the entire Divi staff is keeping watch.
Now the wait is on. The incubation period for sea turtles is anywhere from 45-70 days, so the arrival of hatchlings is expected in early October. Green Sea Turtles lay anywhere from 50-200 eggs at a time. When the hatchlings decide it is time to leave, they will do so under cover of night to avoid natural predators.
Green Sea Turtles are one of the largest species of sea turtles. Females weigh about 120 pounds; males, 200 pounds and are as long as 60 inches. Nesting season lasts from March until September The population of sea turtles has plummeted over the last century to the point that all sea turtles are internationally protected.
This is the first time that any member of the Divi Little Bay staff could remember that a sea turtle had nested on the beach. (Perhaps, the female turtle noticed the Blue Flag flying — the global environmental recognition accorded the beach last fall.) But, once a turtle comes to a beach to nest, it often returns each year. That’s not unlike a lot of other Divi Little Bay guests.