Pacific Green Sea Turtle ~ Chelonia mydas
Aloha from the Big Island
I was thinking my Frommer's Hawaii guidebook was really accurate. It said that sea turtles could often be seen in Reeds Bay in the park right next to our hotel. We were on our way to breakfast one morning when someone pointed out a sea turtle to us. Now, I have to say, the bottom of the bay is dark volcanic rock and it's covered with mossy looking algae. It's not bright and colourful like what you see in a reef on a National Geographic TV episode. But there it was, no, there they were, because once you get used to spotting sea turtles, you often see more than one. Our record is three.
In the Hawaiian language, the green sea turtle's name is Honu and it's a symbol of good luck and longevity. They come into the bay, here, to feed on the algae that covers the rocks. Not big turtles, we estimated their weight to be between 45-50 lbs (20-23 kg), tiny compared to the 700 lb (318 kg), 6 foot (1.8 meter) size a full grown one can reach, and with a lifespan of around 80 years.
Above, my photos were taken while standing at this railing, with the turtles approximately 10 feet (3 metres) or less away. Passing this spot daily, we started to recognize them. Two were smaller with one having a white spot on his/her shell and then there was this one, the largest with the boldest colouring/pattern.
Green Sea turtles are herbivores. It's thought that their diet of sea grasses and algae gives their fat the green colouring that gives them their name.
Bottoms up! They occasionally came to the surface for air but this one decided to eat facing downwards with its tail up.
All species of sea turtles are threatened or endangered so it's a privilege to see them at all.
Photos taken with my Canon SX620 HS in Reeds Bay, Hilo, Hawaii, USA
Mahalo for now,
P.S. I'm in the 2nd week of my 8 month walkabout so stay tuned for more posts.