South West Bay Nature Reserve contains Pan Am Beach, one of the three main nesting beaches on Ascension for the green turtle, Chelonia mydas. Each year green turtles swim over 2000km across the Atlantic Ocean from the waters off Brazil to reach Ascension. They come here specifically to mate and lay their eggs, and will be fasting for 24 weeks before they can return to feed in Brazilian waters. Each year the Conservation Department monitor the number of turtles coming up to nest at this beach, at Long Beach and North East Bay.
It is not safe to swim off Pan Am beach due to consistently strong undertow, strong currents and conditions that can change very quickly.