We are putting together a team for the Nevis to St Kitts swim to raise funds for St. Kitts Sea Turtle Monitoring Network (SKSTMN) (www.stkittsturtles.org) who need $75k to build their Sea Turtle Centre.
Details of the swim can be found on the following site:
Celebrating its 10th year the swim (March 25th) is across the channel between Nevis and St.Kitts. The race start is at Oualie Beach on Nevis and the finish is at Cockleshell Bay on St.Kitts. The distance is 2.5miles (4km). One of the attractions of this event is that it is not only a race but also a challenge, so for those not so fast or competent swimmers please feel free to use fins or a snorkel mask to get you across the beautiful 'Narrows'.
Entry fee: U$50.00 which includes: a professional organization of the Nevis to St. Kitts Cross Channel Swim; rescue boats and kayaks in case you need to rest, feed or stop; prizes and a breakfast party on St.Kitts after the swim; boat transportation (from St. Kitts to Nevis before or after the swim).
All 3 species of nesting sea turtles in St. Kitts are listed as either critically endangered or endangered, primarily due to human impacts. They are beautiful creatures the largest of which are considerably bigger than you or me!
In St. Kitts specifically, threats that face these animals include an annual open fishing season during which all species of sea turtles can be captured and consumed as long as they meet certain weight requirements, habitat destruction (illegal sandmining, development of nesting beaches, etc), light pollution, and poaching.
The St. Kitts Sea Turtle Monitoring Network or SKSTMN has developed a broad based program incorporating leatherback night patrols, morning beach monitoring, Sea Turtle Camp, school programs, leatherback ecotours, and alternative livelihoods. With this development has come the need for a centralized base for their operations. They are working to build a Sea Turtle Interpretive Center at Keys Beach in St. Kitts which will serve as an orientation center for tours and field trips, a research station, an area to showcase the local craftsmaking developed by the SKSTMN, a gift shop, and an area for members and visitors to seek refuge from the elements during patrols.
This Center would allow the SKSTMN to reach sustainability by serving as a year round tourist venue that would generate revenue, thereby enabling the SKSTMN to further develop non-consumable sources of income as an alternative to the sea turtle harvest and to expand their employee base from currently 9 sea turtle technicians to at least 15 technicians. It would also aid tremendously in not only educating visitors to the island about these critically endangered animals but also in educating local citizens by serving as a place that both children and adults can come to learn about the irreplaceable marine resources of their island and be engaged in marine conservation.
The entire project will cost an estimated $75,000USD to complete. The SKSTMN has already raised $18,000USD and they are working to raise the rest of the funds.