Left to nature, only one in a thousand turtle hatchlings reach maturity. At Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary, however, Orton “Brother” King is working to change that statistic. On the island of Bequia, he finds and protects turtle eggs, bringing the hatchlings to his sanctuary to live in seawater ponds for three years before being released back into the ocean. So far, King has saved and released more than 2,000 turtles, which he’ll tell you all about during a tour of his facility.
Retired fisherman Orton "Brother" King runs this sea turtle project on the northeast side of Bequia, where hatchlings are raised during their most vulnerable years. King says he's released some 2,000 turtles (mostly hawksbills) into the Caribbean over the past decade or so, with a goal of increasing the sea turtle population in Bequia's waters. Divers and snorkelers often report coming across King's turtles—identifiable by a small hole drilled into their shells—on underwater excursions. During tours of the facility, you stay dry while seeing turtles at various ages and stages of development in pools throughout the property. Some of the older turtles will occasionally swim over to visitors in search of a belly rub. Cuteness overload, to be sure.