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It is time for my final post based on my trip to Hawaii last June. I really enjoyed the trip and learning about the flora, fauna, culture, and geography of the Big Island. This post is a bit long, so settle into a comfy chair.
The green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) is quite large, and is not all that green. According to Wikipedia, it does have green fat under the shell, or carapace, which helped provide its name. So, why would we name a sea turtle after its fat? Unfortunately, It is due to our culinary relationship to this beautiful animal. In most places, it is now a protected species, and it certainly is in Hawaii. Poaching certainly still occurs, as does death by "bycatch" (catching non-target species in fishing nets). The sub-species in the Pacific can get quite dark, almost looking black at times. When it dries off while sunning itself on land, that is certainly the case.
I was surprised by the places these herbivores would seek out sea grass and other plants/algae. The rough and tumble water where waves are breaking near the base of cliffs or rocky shores is where I most often saw them feeding. The seemed adept at navigating those waters, but being bounced around while picking plants out from around rocks might explain why their beaks get so scratched up.
I also saw individuals in more placid surroundings, and I'm sure they can also find food in such areas. Below are the images I managed to obtain.
1. Snorkeling With A Turtle - A GoPro image. The borrowed camera had a broken viewing screen, so I was shooting blind. I though I was close enough to get a decent shot, but not the case. This image and the next were taken in Milolii Bay.
2. Snorkeling With A Turtle #2 - A bit closer but off on the aim. After using the GoPro for stills, I would say I'll leave it for those folks shooting video. That is what it was designed for, and is better at.
3. Coming Up For Air - After foraging under the breaking waves of the Black Sand Beach or Punalu'u, this one popped up for some air and a bit of a look around.
4. Butt's Up Doc - Having a look below before heading down.
5. Sunning On The Beach At Punalu'u - When we arrived at the beach, this turtle was already settled and enjoying the sun. Someone had put four twigs in the sand to mark a "no go" zone.
6. Taking Notice - The paparazzi have arrived. A number of people were taking advantage of the photo opp.
7. Having A Look Around - Didn't know these guys have "teeth".
8. Back To The Nap - There's nothing to see here. Move along.
9. Turtle On The Beach - A different angle.
10. The Action Begins - If you could call this action. The turtle heads back down the beach.
11. So Close - The turtle and the wave meet.
12. Color Change - A little water makes the subtle coloration show up.
13. Last Shot - And the last evidence I saw of the turtle.
I hope you enjoyed the slow paced turtle action. Let me know what you think by leaving a comment.