The month of September on the ReefCI island has been a special one – whale sharks and sea turtles! This month has been a treat for our volunteers!!
We have had several nests of endangered hawksbill sea turtles hatch and make their return to the sea to begin their perilous journey to adulthood. In 20 to 30 years, female hawksbill turtles will return to nest on beaches where they hatched decades earlier. Hawksbills generally lay three to five nests per season, which each contain an average of 130 to 160 eggs. In 20 to 30 years a few brave and lucky hatchlings of ours will return to our island and complete the cycle again!!
We have also had several whale shark sightings in late August and early September!! These slow swimming filter-feeders are one of the world’s gentlest giants and are the largest fish species in the entire world. Whale sharks can reach incredible lengths of up to 40 feet, and can weigh up 20 metric tons. While intimidating in size, a whale shark’s diet consists primarily of plankton. Unlike most of their feared cousins, whale sharks use a method called filter-feeding to catch their prey. They swim with their mouths wide open (almost five feet!) in order to catch large amounts of their tiny prey. The whale shark is only one of three species of shark that filter-feed.
What a September it has been!! Join us – the ocean awaits – you never know what you will experience!