A Canadian who visited Barbados earlier this month “multi-tasking” from her office near Toronto yesterday was among the first three viewers to spot the above new video placed on YouTube two days ago of a nesting turtle on Mullins Beach returning to the sea. She shared it on our sister site – Barbados TravelAdvisor – which brought it to the attention of this blogger who because of ongoing concerns in the Mullins Bay areas couldn’t help recognizing and reflecting upon its implications for the larger picture. That larger picture includes the beaches only a stone’s throw north of where other visitors to the island captured this video last week. Those beaches, also known turtle nesting areas, were destroyed over the last three years since the installation of groynes on the beach in front of what is now being called St. Peter’s Bay Villas.
It is known that sea turtles whether they roam the oceans for thousands of miles or not do return to the same sandy beaches where they hatched in order to lay their eggs. When those nesting areas are decimated, as is currently the case in the Mullins Bay area, the enormity of the environmental disaster is not just the eroded beaches and damaged private property, but the very survival of these already endangered creatures is further threatened. Another visitor to the island from the United Kingdom who stayed recently at Cassandra Apts. in Road View reported witnessing a washed out turtle nest in the vicinity Jentillia cottage which is located between The Peoples Worship Centre and the house with the toppled almond tree which made headlines last Sunday. Finding sandy patches in which to lay eggs is also impacted by boulders, walls, etc., residents in the area are forced to put down to protect their properties from the surges compounded by the groynes.
We cannot and should not sit back and allow the greed of a few to determine the fate of these endangered creatures, surely not in the 21 st. century. Recently one neighboring Caribbean island changed its policy on whaling when it finally understood the impact it was having on the pristine wilderness image it was trying to cultivate. Similarly, luxury condo developers in Barbados must come to the understanding that waving their planning permission papers for groynes (flawed though they be) will not justify their environmental crimes in the eyes of increasingly sophisticated and ecologically savvy condo buyers.
Back in the days before sea turtles were supposedly protected in Barbados as a child I lived next door to a fisherman who hunted turtles. While he went about “engaging the meat” (sometimes for several days) he would keep them alive and on their backs either in his house or in his yard. I can still hear the sound of them flapping on the floorboards through the night, and in my mind’s eye still see them gasping for breath while struggling to right themselves to escape their fate. Through a child’s imagination as the turtles breathed and gasped we used to say they were praying. While not claiming that there is/was any relationship, that fisherman later died a very lonely and awful death. He couldn’t even get to the bathroom so he ripped up the very floorboards on which the turtles flapped in order to relieve himself where he too now laid suffering. Well, the turtles are praying again.