Travel the world, help sea turtles with Loggerhead Marinelife Center
Imagine roaming some of the world’s most beautiful ecosystems. Gorgeous vistas, affordable travel and amazing memories; immersing yourself in the sounds of nature.
Travel is immersive and inspiring, but traveling with a global mission is another story. Lucky for do-good wanderlusters, Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s SWIM (Serving the World’s Imperiled Marine life) Eco-tour Destinations offer that opportunity.
SWIM offers participants the unique opportunity to explore a beautiful ecosystem and local culture while assisting local organizations in day-to-day conservation efforts like marine animal research/rescue and mangrove restoration. These trips make travel look – and do – good.
“It has always been a dream of mine to work with sea turtles and when I saw the opportunity to join LMC in Nicaragua I had to jump on it,” said Mari Backus, a 2016 Padre Ramos, Nicaragua SWIM participant. “I was looking for a trip that I could do more than lay on a beach. I wanted to give back, and this seemed like the perfect fit.”
2017 destinations include Maui, Hawaii ($2,299/person; Aug. 24-30), where guests will participate in sea turtle research and rescue and debris removal with Maui Ocean Center Marine Institute (MOCMI) biologists, as well as snorkel excursions, surf lessons and more. The other destination is Padre Ramos, Nicaragua ($1,499/person; Sept. 20-28 and Sept. 29-Oct. 7), where guests will assist local biologists with in-water hawksbill turtle and hatcheries monitoring and mangrove reforestation, as well as kayak trips.
“You do things you wouldn’t normally on any vacation, like holding a hatchling in your hands as you release it into the water,” said Backus. “My favorite part was the first time we released hawksbill hatchlings on a remote beach at sunset – without a footprint in the sand. After they were weighed and measured, we carried the hatchlings in tubs. As dozens of them raced towards the water we watched in awe, taking in the moment of how we helped a species that otherwise could have faced an unfortunate fate.”
Proceeds from all SWIM programs go directly to the host conservation organization to help fund critical research, rehabilitation and education efforts – keeping participants’ support within the local community.
“You are exposed to a different lifestyle than in the states, and work with individuals who invite you into their homes,” said Backus. “Who wouldn’t want to take a vacation where you visit somewhere you normally wouldn’t, meet people who share similar passions and make a difference? I would choose this over laying on the beach any day.”
For more information about SWIM programs, visit marinelife.org/SWIM.
*All activities included in SWIM tours are conducted responsibly and abide by the best practices for viewing, handling and interacting with wildlife. SWIM guides are trained biologists and experienced naturalists that offer a unique and in-depth look at some of the world’s most fascinating ecosystems.
About Loggerhead Marinelife Center:
Loggerhead Marinelife Center is a non-profit sea turtle hospital that promotes conservation of ocean ecosystems with a focus on threatened and endangered sea turtles. The Center features an on-site campus hospital, research laboratory, educational exhibits and aquariums, and also operates the Juno Beach Pier, a pier that hosts world-class fishing and sightseeing. Situated on one of the world’s most important sea turtle nesting beaches, Loggerhead Marinelife Center is open daily and hosts over 300,000 guests free-of-charge each year. For more information, visit www.marinelife.org or call (561) 627-8280.