LMC’s Serving the World’s Imperiled Marine life (SWIM) Program expands to Bonaire, Caribbean Netherlands

2019 SWIM Bonaire guests pose outside of Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire headquarters.

Inaugural SWIM Bonaire ‘Conservation Vacation’ makes a Splash!

Did you know? Loggerhead Marinelife Center offers unique getaway experiences that immerse guests in on-the-ground marine conservation efforts on what we call, “conservation vacations.”  Our Serving the World’s Imperiled Marine life (SWIM) program is a destination eco-program with a goal of connecting individuals to ocean conservation while supporting like-minded non-profit organizations around the globe through volunteer service, specialized project support and financial assistance. Since 2016, Loggerhead Marinelife Center has partnered with NGOs in Nicaragua, Hawaii, Bonaire and at home here in Florida.  

This year was our first SWIM trip to the small, southern Caribbean island of Bonaire to assist Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire (STCB) with their marine conservation efforts, and what an amazing experience it was! From assisting with sea turtle population assessments and patrolling Klein Bonaire for sea turtle nesting activity, to learning about endangered birds and participating in marine debris removal events, SWIM Bonaire guests not only had the opportunity to explore and enjoy the island, but make meaningful contributions to the conservation of local marine life.

SWIM Bonaire Guest Bob takes a quick, second look at a juvenile green sea turtle on a transect survey in the beautiful nearshore waters of Bonaire.

Bonaire is a nesting site for green, hawksbill and Loggerhead sea turtles as well as a foraging ground for many juvenile green and hawksbill sea turtles on its nearshore reefs. Coral reefs are extremely sensitive to change in temperature, particular chemicals in sunscreen and irresponsible tourism practices, as well as disease. A decline in coral reef habitat poses a threat to these already threatened and endangered species, making it important to monitor the current population dynamics to understand future implications. SWIM guests were able to assist in an in-water sea turtle transect, using creative methodology to support citizen scientist efforts. By the end of the first day of transects, our SWIM participants were trained citizen scientists and ready for more.

Below are some photos of our SWIM guests hard at “work!”

SWIM Bonaire guest Devon freedives over a natural staghorn coral thicket after a snorkel in Reef Renewal Bonaire’s coral nursery.
Some of the stranger things found during a debris audit on popular public beaches of Bonaire.
SWIM Bonaire guests share their transect observations & data with STCB staff biologist, Fernando.
STCB staff member, Kaj, explains how to identify nesting turtle crawls and data collection protocols for nest excavations before leading a nesting survey on Klein Bonaire.

We are so grateful for ALL of our SWIM guests who have dedicated their vacation time to helping sea turtles by keeping our world ocean clean, blue and trash-free! Special thanks to Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire, Clean Coast Bonaire, Echo Dos Pos Conservation Centre, Reef Renewal Bonaire, and Wild Conscience for a fantastic inaugural SWIM experience. We look forward to working with these #changemakers in 2020!

Interested in participating in a SWIM program with us? Check out our unique experiences at marinelife.org/SWIM.