Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta)
Every morning paper, every evening news broadcast, and every hourly update bring more reports of the horrible devastation along the Gulf Coast as millions upon millions of gallons of oil attack fragile salt marshes, threatened estuaries and critical coastal habitats from Louisiana to Florida. But an email arrived at Turtle Journal headquarters last Tuesday about a good news event at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Naples, Florida. A loggerhead sea turtle had chosen the pristine beach in front of the resort to deposit the next generation of this threatened species whose population has been in rapid decline.
Gulf Coast Beach in Front of Naples Ritz-Carlton Hotel
Turtle Journal loves the Ritz-Carlton in Naples, Florida. During visits to Florida’s Gulf Coast we often document the many marine species that we study along Vanderbilt Beach in front of the hotel. This picture of the Ritz-Carlton beach was shot from our 11th floor room during a recent visit.
Loggerhead Sea Turtle Nest in Front of Ritz-Carlton
Of course, the loggerhead sea turtle has a very different perspective of the Ritz-Carlton. The nest she dug in the perfect beach sands in front of the hotel provides an interesting turtle’s eye view of the resort.
Protecting Loggerhead Sea Turtle Nest
She certainly didn’t realize what a lucky choice she made for her offspring. Once staff discovered the loggerhead nest, protective tape, caging and signage were posted to keep the eggs safe while they incubate in the warm Florida sand. These eggs are expected to hatch sometime around July 29th.
Ritz-Carlton Hotel Nature’s Wonders
As the hatching date approaches, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel plans to organize “turtle sitting” events for guests to watch and wait for the tiny hatchlings to burrow through the sand and scramble into the gulf. The center for these discovery events will be Nature’s Wonders.
Ritz-Carlton’s Ranger Randy Sarton
Learning more about sea turtles and the rest of Vanderbilt beach’s marine life is only a few steps away at the hotel Nature’s Wonders, an exquisiste learning center under the capable leadership of Ranger Randy Sarton. Turtle Journal never misses an opportunity to re-visit Nature’s Wonders and catch up with Ranger Randy every time we travel to Florida’s Gulf Coast. Randy Sarton will teach visitors more about sea turtles every Saturday at 5:15 pm within the Nature’s Wonders Center.
Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) at Ritz-Carlton
Loggerheads are not the only turtle species that deserve mentioning at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Naples. Some of the luckiest gopher tortoises in the world have staked a claim to the most expensive beach front burrows on the planet. Since gopher tortoises are also a threatened species, the hotel staff takes special care to ensure they are protected in their beachside habitat.
Sunbathing Guest at Naples Ritz-Carlton Hotel
One of the first guests we met on our initial stay at the Ritz-Carlton was this friendly native who spent each morning sunbathing (a.k.a. basking) beneath our balcony overlooking the gulf. For more information about this magnificent location to observe Gulf Coast marine life, see Feisty Gopher Tortoise on Prowl near Ritz Carlton Gulf Coast Beach Resort, A Walk on the Beach — Southwest Florida Style, Lone Male Tortoise Struts Vanderbilt Beach, Turtle Journal Arrives in Southwest Florida, Gopher Tortoise Crashes Ritzy Beach Party in Naples, Florida, Large Aggregation of Cownose Rays off Vanderbilt Beach in Southwest Florida, Nature’s Wonders — Ritz-Carlton, Vanderbilt Beach, Naples, and Gopher Tortoises “Puttin on the Ritz” in Naples, Florida.