“The Leatherback Turtles are Aruba’s oldest repeat guests” says Edith van der Wal, the current president of Turtugaruba, the local foundation dedicated to protecting the Leatherback’s nesting on our Eagle Beach. “Leatherbacks have been nesting in Aruba for thousands of years” Edith and her volunteers disperse to beaches all around Aruba during nesting and hatching seasons to also look after Loggerhead, Green and Hawksbill turtles too.
Our good friend Tom Barnes started the Tortugaruba foundation in the 1980’s and is responsible for the building of the seawall which protects the lives of the turtles when they mistakenly follow the lights of businesses and homes instead of the reflective ocean water and would otherwise cross the roads adjacent from the beach without the barrier. Bucuti Beach Resort at that time helped fund the wall and over the past forty years has contributed over about 100k to the overall turtle conservation efforts.
Edith explains that the capability of a sea turtle to migrate hundreds - and occasionally thousands - of miles from its feeding ground to its nesting beach has been cited as one of the most remarkable acts in the animal kingdom. That adult females return faithfully to nest on the exact beach where they were born makes the feat even more amazing.
Part of Edith’s tireless mission includes conducting courses for local resort associates and residents to know the actions to take when a giant Leatherback, weighing up to 500 kg is nesting nearby.
After attending Edith’s lecture for Bucuti & Tara personnel, Breakfast Supervisor Marguerita had many questions for Edith and whispered to me after the course ”I never knew how interesting and endangered our turtle population is. The video showing the egg-laying was amazing and I didn’t realize how hard the turtles had to work to make a successful nest. It was heartbreaking to see how careless we are with their lives and I am happy to know how to protect them so my children and grandchildren will know these wonderful creatures.”
Witnessing a turtle nesting or a nest hatching is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We’ve created a ‘call’ list for guests who want to be alerted when an event occurs on our beach or the immediate area. Simply register at the concierge desk during your stay and you maybe one of the lucky ones to witness something spectacular!