Maya Ceremony Kicks Off Sea Turtle Season
Every year, state ecologists and local environmentalists get together to prepare for turtle season here in the Riviera Maya. While sea turtles lay their eggs along the entire Yucatan Peninsula, they seem to have a particular preference for the calmer waters and softer sand of the Riviera Maya.
Hotels along these beaches also do their part to help protect the fragile eggs that are carefully laid by adult females. On average, more than 100 eggs can be buried in a nest. Once a nest is discovered, state officials and sometimes volunteers, rush out to cordon off the nest and do their best to protect it until the eggs hatch.
Over the last 15 years, government officials have recorded a 74 percent increase in nesting habits along the Riviera Maya, which in turn, has resulted in the successful release of hundreds of thousands of baby sea turtles.
Just prior to turtle nesting season, though, is another important preparation that includes the local Maya shaman. In order to further improve the percentage, elders from the Maya community here in Playa del Carmen hold a traditional ceremony for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles.
Over 280 people attended the traditional Mayan event that included a traditional blessing ceremony as well as giving thanks to Mother Nature. A wreath laden with good wishes is placed in the sand which completes the ceremony for the start of the 2016 season.
Last year, more than 1,800 nests were counted along the shores of the Riviera Maya which resulted about 200,000 sea turtle eggs being laid and thus, eventually released into the sea. Sea turtle season in and around Playa del Carmen runs from May to October.