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Monday, January 28, 2019

Amber Cove – Beautiful Cruise Port but Animal Habitat Concerns

Amber Cove of the Dominican Republic is a beautiful cruise port; however, the plastic in the water could harm sea turtles and sea birds.

1st of 2 Visits to Amber Cove

As a frequent cruiser, I have visited many of the Caribbean islands. On two Carnival cruises taken in July and in October of 2018, we stopped at an Eastern Caribbean port. Carnival ships, along with their sister ships, only began visiting this port in 2015.

What was this port called?

The island was called Amber Cove. It is housed on the northern part of the Dominican Republic.

On my first of two visits, I saw only the beauties.

Walkway Leads to a Little Touch of Paradise

You walk off the cruise ship.

You cross a long walking bridge. For those who are interested, there are eager cyclists pulling two-seater carts. These cyclists are willing to wheel you across for a tip. Personally, I prefer walking so I can stretch my legs and fully absorb the lovely scenery.

You then walk through a large duty-free shop to enter what might feel like a little touch of paradise.

Some Lovely Features of this Cruise Port

There are local vendors, some dressed up in old time Caribbean garb. There is a small band. There is a beautiful waterfall. There are flowers, mountains, ocean views, and beautiful trees.

Naturally, there are a plethora of gift stores. There is a beautiful swimming pool. There are also venues available where you can sign up to go on a zip line or some other shore excursion. For more information about that, you can click on the “Things To Do” list created by Cruise For your convenience, I will include that link at the end of this blog.

Check out my pictures of my favorite sights at Amber Cove.

Waterfall in Amber Cove

I've always loved waterfalls. This small one in Amber Cove is especially lovely.

Small Houses in Water at Amber Cove

As I crossed the walkway, I noticed these cute little buildings out in the water. I was not sure if they were houses or restaurants or shops. In any case, I was intrigued to view them from both sides.

Views of Amber Cove Coastline

I've always enjoyed viewing coastlines -- the craggier the better. This one was not craggy, but I still found it quite lovely.

Some Beautiful Amber Cove Flowers

Amber Cove was filled with flowers in bloom. Please enjoy my four favorite. The flower on the bottom left is Hibiscus. They actually had a sign posted that labeled it as such. I'm not certain what the other flowers are called.

If you happen to know, I would be grateful if you shared that in the comment box.

A Disturbing View on Second Amber Cove Visit

On my second visit to this island, I noticed something rather disturbing. Just off the walking bridge, there is a fair amount of trash and plastic nestled among the Sargassum.

Healthy Sargassum – Animal Habitat to Many Small Sea Critters

This is a photo of some healthy Sargassum.

Plastic in Water is a Danger To Both Sea Turtles and Sea Birds!

Plastic in the Water Makes for a Harmful Animal Habitat

Sargassum is an animal habitat for over a hundred critters that include young sea turtles. Since I became aware of that fact, I am always on the lookout for a large or small Sargassum raft. I am hoping I will actually get to see one of these small hatchlings close-up.

While visiting sea turtle rehab venues in various parts of Florida in September and October of 2018, I learned something very alarming. Every single sea turtle in need of rehabilitation had at least one piece of plastic lodged in their digestive track. There are also sea birds that are ingesting plastic.

In fact, if you go on YouTube and use the following search words “plastic killing sea birds” or “plastic killing sea turtles,” you will see a huge choice of videos demonstrating that very distressing fact. I will include some links to a few of these videos at the end of this blog.

Fork in Water at Amber Cove

Bottle Cap in Water at Amber Cove

More Trash in Water at Amber Cove

Plastic Bag Mistaken for Jellyfish in Amber Cove

I’m not certain what the draw is for sea birds. I do know why many sea turtles end up eating plastic. In a moment, you will, too.

Do you know what the favorite food is for various breeds of sea turtles?

It is jellyfish.

Now, think about what a jellyfish looks like bobbing in the water. A plastic bag bobbing in the water looks very similar.

The sea turtle would gobble it down thinking it was going to experience its favorite snack. By the time it registered that it wasn’t a jellyfish after all, it was too late. Plastic is now lodged in their throat or gut.

Bobbing Plastic Bag Could Be Mistaken for Tasty Jellyfish

How Did Plastic End Up in the Water at Amber Cove?

So, how did all that plastic get in the water at Amber Cove?

There are only three ways I can imagine it happened:

  1. A local resident littered.
  2. A tourist littered.
  3. A stiff wind blew trash into the water from an open-lidded garbage can.

Two Goals for Writing this Blog

So, what is my goal in writing this particular blog about visiting Amber Cove?

It is two-fold.

  1. One, it allows you to enjoy my photos of some of the beautiful features of this lovely island.

  2. It is in the hope that someone living and working in Amber Cove will fish out the trash from the water. That way, tourists will see only beauty and nothing unsightly. Also, the animal habitat for sea turtles and sea birds will once again be safe.

Do You Plan to Visit Amber Cove? If so, …

In case you are planning a visit to Amber Cove, check out that link I mentioned just below. I've also included the link to Amber Cove's website. Please note: Both will open up in a new window.

YouTube Video Links that Demonstrate Why Plastic is Dangerous to Sea Birds and Sea Turtles

Here are two YouTube videos that show why plastic is dangerous to sea birds. They will open in a new window.

Here are three YouTube videos that show why plastic is dangerous to sea turtles. They will open in a new window.

Amazon Link to all children’s books by Debbie Dunn

Here is the link to the author’s page on Amazon of all paperback and kindle books by Debbie Dunn.. It will open up in a new window.

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