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Sea Turtle Etiquette

The sea turtle is one of the most highly endangered species in the oceans. Catching even a passing glimpse of one is a magical experience, but you'll blow the chance unless you heed some basic guidelines.

When you first spot a sea turtle, resist the urge to move in and get a closer look, even if the guide leads the way; you will only scare it off. Instead, stay still and watch at a respectful distance as it goes about its business, searching for food or gliding along gracefully. Keep an eye out for identification tags on their flippers or shells -- a sure sign these beautiful swimmers are being closely studied and well protected. You should never approach a turtle or its nest, and never touch or try to touch one -- for your safety and theirs. While it seems harmless to humans, it is in fact quite stressful for the turtles (how'd you like to be chased around the grocery store by strangers while trying to locate dinner?). Warning: Do not swim above the turtles; it will prevent them from surfacing to breathe and subject them to undue respiratory distress!

And of course, if someone offers you a sea turtle shell, egg, or meat products, just say no; then immediately call the number below to file a report.

To learn more about sea turtles or to learn about current conservation efforts and how you can participate, volunteer, or make a donation, contact Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire (tel. 599/717-2225; www.bonaireturtles.org).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.