May 11–15, 2019

Trinidad

Join Oceanic Society as we travel to the beaches of Trinidad to see the amazing leatherback turtle at one of the world’s most important nesting sites. With a total nesting population of nearly 30,000, Trinidad hosts the world’s densest nesting colony of leatherback turtles, and we have timed our expedition to coincide with the peak of their nesting season. Trip highlights include:

  • Leatherback turtles nesting under the stars
  • Hands-on sea turtle monitoring
  • Visit to an innovative community recycling project
  • Meeting with local fishermen to discuss problems and solutions
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Itinerary

MAY 11 | Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

Fly to Piarco International Airport in Port of Spain, Trinidad. From here, everyone will be transported to the comfortable Hyatt Regency Hotel. There will be a group dinner and orientation this evening.

MAY 12 | Matura - Recycle Glass Project | Grande Riviere - Leatherback Turtles

Following breakfast, we will make our way to the northeast coast of Trinidad to the long, rural beach of Matura. Each year, the local community gets together to clean debris off the beach so that leatherback turtles can nest safely. Our partners, the award-winning local NGO Nature Seekers, have developed a recycling project aimed at supporting the local community by empowering local artisans to use recycled glass, paper, coconut, and seeds to create jewelry. While here, we’ll be given a tour of the recycling facility to watch the craftsmen in action.  

Following our tour we’ll have lunch and then continue north to the small seaside village of Grande Riviere, our base for the next few nights. Grande Riviere beach, just steps from our hotel, is where we will encounter the highest density of nesting leatherback turtles in the world. This evening, after a briefing, we will go out to the beach with researchers to observe the turtles. We will stay overnight at Acajou Hotel.

MAY 13 | Grande Riviere - Paria Waterfall and Leatherback Turtle Research

After breakfast and weather permitting, we will visit Paria Waterfall by boat, one of the premier attractions in Trinidad. Arriving at the waterfall, we’ll be able to relax and wade in the refreshing water and have the opportunity to look for birds and take a short hike in the surrounding landscape. This evening, we will have another opportunity to go out with researchers to Grande Riviere beach to monitor turtles as they come ashore. We will stay overnight at Acajou Hotel.

MAY 14 | Matura - Leatherback Turtle Research

Today, we will return to Matura and reconnect with a researcher from Nature Seekers who will lead us on a visit with local driftnet fishermen to learn about ways in which the fishing community has tried to work with conservationists to reduce leatherback entanglement in fishing gear. Fisheries bycatch is the greatest threat to leatherbacks in Trinidad and globally, and this exchange will offer unique perspectives into this complex problem and possible solutions. After the meeting, the researcher will provide an overview of the work of Nature Seekers and the challenges faced by leatherbacks in Trinidad. This evening, we will follow join Nature Seekers on Matura nesting beach, the most pristine and protected nesting beach in Trinidad, to assist as they monitor and collect morphometric data and tag numbers from the nesting turtles. We will return late this evening / early morning to Acajou Hotel. (B, L, D)

MAY 15 | Port of Spain - Caroni Bird Sanctuary | Depart

Following a late breakfast, we will travel back to Port of Spain. This afternoon, those that are flying out late will take a tour of the Caroni Bird Sanctuary, a protected swampland that is rich in biodiversity, known for supporting more than 100 bird species. Here, we’ll take a guided boat tour through mangrove forests and lagoons in search of unique flora and fauna. Highlights may include a sunset encounter with Scarlet Ibises, one of Trinidad’s national birds, which are known to roost in the trees. This evening, we will have a farewell dinner, and then make our way to the airport in time for our international flights home.

Trip Price

$3,600 per person in double-occupancy accommodations; no single accommodations are available on this expedition.

For detailed pricing information, please contact us using the form below.

Group Size

Limit of 12 passengers.

theme

Sustainable Fisheries

Oceanic Society plays a global leadership role in sea turtle conservation through its State of the World’s Sea Turtles Program (SWOT), as well as the IUCN-SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group. Unsustainable fishing practices are one of the main contributors to the decline of sea turtle populations worldwide and are one of the greatest threats to ocean health globally. On this expedition we’ll explore how fisheries are incidentally impacting leatherback turtles and other marine life, and we'll discuss the challenges and opportunities to creating more sustainable fisheries.

Your Trip Leaders

RODERIC MAST is Oceanic Society’s President and CEO. He is a lifelong conservationist, a marine biologist, and an experienced travel guide who got his start as a naturalist in the Galápagos Islands. Rod is an expert in sea turtles, and is the both the co-chair of theIUCN Marine Turtle Specialist Group and the founder of the State of the World’s Sea TurtlesProgram, which is managed by Oceanic Society. Rod is also a passionate photographer, author, and public speaker.

THOMAS P. PESCHAK is an assignment photographer for National Geographic Magazine. He is a Founding/Associate Director of the Manta Trust, and a senior fellow of the International League of ConservationPhotographers. He has been named as one of the 40 most influential nature photographers in the world. Originally trained as a marine biologist specializing in human–wildlife conflict, he retired from science fieldwork in 2004. He became an wildlife photojournalist after realizing that he could have a greater conservation impact through photographs than statistics. His work focuses on some of the most critical marine conservation issues of our time.

BRIAN HUTCHINSON is Oceanic Society’s vice president of outreach and a sea turtle expert with more than a decade of experience developing and leading global sea turtle research and conservation programs. Brian is an avid traveler who has visited more than 40 countries, and he has worked as afield researcher in Ecuador and Malaysia. Brian holds a B.A. in zoology from Connecticut College.

BEN HICKS is a South Florida based photographer whose distinctive vision and inimitable approach to photography renders intricately detailed images that captivate viewers and serve as a testament to his enjoyment and reverence of nature. Through his photography, Ben aspires to advance the appreciation for nature and raise environmental awareness by depicting the natural world in an endearing and relevant manner that all individuals can understand and connect with. Ben is particularly focused on using his photography as a medium to communicate the importance of sea turtle conservation as these magnificent creatures are one of the most important indicators of the health of the world’s marine and coastal ecosystems.

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