In Coco Bodu Hithi, there is a Catalan resident marine biologist, Sonia, who makes sure the house coral reef is protected and shares her knowledge of the marine life with guests. We had a snorkeling trip with her and we learned about the in-house turtles.
There is a coral reef in the island, but coral reefs are as beautiful as they are fragile and changes in the sea level and temperature affect them directly. That is why they work on coral regrowth using naturally broken coral.
The environmental best practices are followed in all activities run by the resort, for example in fishing activities they measure the protected species, and if they have not yet reached maturity they release them.
Coco Cares: care for the environment
Coco Bodu Hithi cares about the environment and you can tell in every detail of the rooms and their activities and services, their environmental side has a name on its own and its called Coco Cares. To support the environment and the local community, they recycle and use local productions whenever possible in Coco Bodu Maldives and also in other properties in the Coco brand.
Coco Cares is a Coco Collection’s community platform, where they share their initiatives including coral nursery planting, the sea turtles and mantas identification program and they also have their own water bottling plant. They desalinate seawater to use in the villas and at the back of the house areas too.
Another interesting initiative they are leading is to reduce the ghost gear within the Indian Ocean, called Olive Ridley project when we say ghost gear we are referring to either lost, abandoned or discarded fishing gear.
Coco is involved not only is the physical removal of the ghost gear but also incorporating preventive measures that include educate and increase awareness of this threat. Ghost gear affects sea turtles and other vulnerable organisms in the Indian Ocean as well as having negative effects on coastal communities.
The first time I saw sea turtles was in Maldives last year and it is the only place I traveled and snorkel where I have seen them in their natural habitat, the experience of seeing them while swimming its something I can't explain in words. It makes you realize there is a whole marine life to know better and explore.
Sea turtles have existed since 120 millions of years ago, nowadays there are seven species of sea turtles but there were a lot more before. Turtles have adapted to live in the ocean and they can hold their breath for long periods of time. They hydrate by drinking salt water as they have the ability to expel the salt from their glands that they have located being their eyes.
As a curiosity, see turtles have incredible navigational abilities, they are able to cross the ocean using the magnetic field of the earth, very similar to birds navigation.
There are 5 types of sea turtles that can be found in the Indian Ocean: Green turtle. Hawksbill turtle, Olive Ridley turtle, Loggerhead turtle and Leatherback turtle
Loggerhead and Leatherback turtles are less common in the Indian Ocean than the Green, Hawksbill, and Olive Ridley turtles. What we were able to find in our snorkeling trips were Hawksbill Turtles.
The Hawksbill turtle gets its name from its sharp lower jaw. The Hawksbill is one of the smallest species of sea turtles and the Indian Ocean. Hawksbill turtles tend to be smaller than those in the Pacific and Atlantic.
Hawksbill turtles have a slim head and a sharp jaw that helps them to hunt in crevices in coral reefs. They eat mainly sponges, but they also go for anemones, soft corals, urchins, jellyfish, squid and shrimp. Hawksbills are very loyal to their homes, that is why it is easy to spot them in the hotel resorts, in their in-house reefs in Maldives.
Although you might see them in most of the resorts in the Maldives you need to be conscious that the Hawksbill turtle is listed as critically endangered, over the last century the population of Hawksbill turtles has declined globally by over 80%.
That is one of the reasons why many environmental friendly resorts have started gps tracking for these turtles and controlling their population as well as caring for sick turtles or helping nest the species and give back ready turtle babies to their natural habitat.
Life Cycle of Turtles
You will find below the general life cycle of turtles that is shared across all turtle species. Mummy turtles come to the beach and nest from 100 to 200 eggs and the nests will hatch in 40 to 60 days approximately. Baby turtles are completely independent after birth and they never meet their mothers, as soon as they are out from the eggs the go to the sea as soon as possible.
Turtles have a very low survival rate, only 1 in 1000 turtles will make it to adulthood. Young turtles will spend several years drifting with the currents, after a few years, immature turtles will settle close to the shore where it may take them more than 30 years to reach adulthoo