We all love an amazing trip to an unforgettable destination. But how about a trip to an unforgettable destination that makes a world of difference?
Photos by Jeff Biege story by Hannah Deadman
Enter Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s SWIM (Serving the World’s Imperiled Marine life) Eco-tour Destinations, which offers participants the unique opportunity to explore a beautiful ecosystem and local culture while assisting local organizations in daily conservation efforts like mangrove restoration and marine animal research and rescue.
Take Susan Graham, for example. An Atlanta native, she jumped at the opportunity to travel to Maui, Hawaii on a SWIM trip earlier this year.
“I visited Loggerhead Marinelife Center last March, and left the Center feeling like I wanted to do more to raise awareness about sea turtles,” she shares. “When I learned about SWIM on LMC’s Instagram, I figured it was the perfect way to do that.”
2018 destinations* include Maui, Hawaii ($2,099/person; June 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, coastal hikes and more. The other destination is Padre Ramos, Nicaragua ($1,299/person; Aug. 12-18), where guests will assist local biologists with in-water hawksbill turtle and hatcheries monitoring and mangrove reforestation, as well as kayak trips.
“The in-water work we did in Maui was the highlight of my trip,” Graham says. “It was such a serene and intimate experience to see the sea turtles in the wild – as they should be. I think the biggest lesson I learned while on the trip was reducing the use of plastics beyond recycling. Really, we should just be eliminating as much as possible since plastic never leaves the environment.”
Best of all, proceeds from Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s SWIM trips go directly to the host conservation organization. This helps fund critical research, rehabilitation and education efforts and keeps participants’ support within the local community.
“One of the coolest things about SWIM is that everyone you meet on the trip has that passion for conservation,” says Graham. “I definitely would recommend going on a SWIM trip. I mean, what better excuse do you have to travel other than saving the world?”
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.
*Prices based on double occupancy without airfare.
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.
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