As divers one of the greatest experiences we can have is when we encounter these magnificent creatures under the sea. On land they appear clumsy and cumbersome, but underwater they are as graceful and eloquent as any ballerina you've ever seen. Arriving on Grand Cayman and learning that they had a turtle farm that tourists could visit made it a "must see" stop on our first trip in 1992 (and our last trip in 2001 to introduce my sister and her husband to these gentle giants).

The most disturbing thing is when you learn that the turtle farm is a commercial venture and not solely for conservation and repopulating the seas. The farm raises Green turtles and provides meat and other products from a percentage that is slaughtered. However, the good news is that they do release a certain percentage of these gentle giants into the wild so that they can flourish in their natural environment.

Large Green Turtle
A large breeding Green turtle
Baby turtles in a tank

Left: The turtle farm has many small tanks where the young hatchlings are pampered for the first year of their life. They are grouped into these tanks, as many as a hundred or more, based on age.

Right: A small turtle in one of the tanks.

Baby turtle
The Cayman Turtle Farm is, in effect, a zoo, and what zoo would be complete without a petting section. Enjoy these pictures of Anne, my sister, Carol, and myself holding some of the turtles from the petting ponds.
Carol Paige holding a Green Turtle
My sister, Carol, holding
a small Green turtle
Anne with a small Green Turtle
Anne talking to the turtle to keep
it from flapping its flippers
Anne and I holding a small green Turtle
Anne and I holding a small Green turtle by
the Turtle Farm sign
While I do not condone the Cayman Turtle Farm's commercialization of the Green turtle, I do applaud their efforts in releasing a percentage to the wild where they can be enjoyed by the many divers and snorkelers that visit the island. They do have a program where, for $99, you can select and release a turtle into the wild. I wonder what profit they make on a single turtle and if they would then make that the price for releasing one into the wild. If they'd reduce the price I'm sure many would release them into the wild.