Mark your calendars and grab your gear! Sea turtle nesting season starts in March, and a nine-mile stretch of sand off Jupiter just happens to be one of the world’s premier nesting sites!
That means the odds of divers encountering sea turtles in the water soars between March and October—and Jupiter Dive Center wants to help you discover these amazing sea creatures!
Mature sea turtles return to the beach where they were born, to lay their own eggs. Five species of sea turtles can be found in our area, and all are considered endangered, making dive encounters even more special. The three most abundant species are the loggerhead, hawksbill, and green sea turtles. Less abundant are the leatherbacks and Kemps’ Ridleys. Leatherbacks are the first to arrive in March, followed by loggerheads, greens, and Hawksbills.
A Silver Lining
While no one would wish for a global pandemic, if one looks hard enough, there were some environmental silver linings—and one of those was the success of the 2020 sea turtle nesting season. In addition to fewer beachgoers, the Palm and Treasure Coast Counties escaped the brunt of the 2020 hurricane season and while we experienced storms, there were no landfalls on our coastline to disrupt the nesting season.
Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach is dedicated to promoting the conservation of ocean ecosystems with a special focus on threatened and endangered sea turtles. According to Dr. Justin Perrault, the Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s Director of Research, 2020 marked the third-highest nest count since the Center started surveying sea turtle nests in the 1980s. Between February 28 and October 31, Center researchers documented a whopping 16, 935 sea turtle nests! The final tally was 286 leatherbacks, 13,059 loggerheads, and 3,590 green sea turtle nests between the northern Palm Beach County line and John D. MacArthur Beach State Park.
Sea Turtle Awareness Course
Jupiter Dive Center is pleased to partner with these highly respected leaders in sea turtle education, research, and rehabilitation to help ensure that the magnificent turtles we see today continue to delight divers well into the future. Together we offer a one-day program to educate divers and non-divers alike on sea turtle identification, the critical role they play in the marine ecosystem, and steps you can take that focus on conservation. The morning is spent at the Loggerhead Marinelife Center, then, certified divers will enjoy a two-tank dive charter with
How You Can Help
Divers often become ocean, and marine life advocates. After all, it’s natural to want to protect what we love. This starts by being a considerate and skilled diver. Coral is fragile and good buoyancy is the number one skill divers need to prevent damaging reefs—which you can practice while participating on one of the pier cleanups that Jupiter Dive Center and Loggerhead Marinelife Center coordinate.
Conservation and advocacy needs extend beyond the water. Want to adopt a sea turtle? The Loggerhead Marinelife Center rehabilitates cold-shocked and injured sea turtles and anyone can adopt a sea turtle! Pollution prevention is another top priority of conservation initiatives and you can help with beach cleanups (bring in a full bag of trash to the Loggerhead Marinelife Center Sorting Station and score a free shirt!). And, of course, you can always open your wallet and make a charitable contribution to support this worthy non-profit.
Sea turtles make Jupiter Area Dives special. And the more you know about these marine animals, the more interesting you’ll find them. (Fun fact: leatherback turtles can dive to a depth of 3,000 feet, but when nesting you are more likely to see them on the surface as they swim toward shore—so look up!)