My dream, for as long as I can remember, has been swim with a sea turtle. I don’t know where the notion came from. Having grown up on the north shore of Massachusetts, I really can’t imagine where the idea came from at all. Nevertheless, it’s been it in my craw for a long, long time.
I’ve been pretty lucky since I’ve been in Hawaii to swim with the Honu. Here’s our informational page on the Green Sea Turtle!
Specifics and Details of the Green Sea Turtle
Hawaiian Name: Honu
Scientific Name: Chelonia mydas
It’s actually pretty surprising that the greens sea turtle is on the is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act because they’re so common in the coastal waters of Oahu and the other Hawaiian Islands. The green sea turtle is a favorite of snorkelers and divers.
The turtle was almost hunted to extinction in the 1960’s until people became aware of the danger the species was in and stepped into raise awareness and actually get it listed on the endangered list.
The green sea turtle is one of only a very few species that has been around so long that they actually saw the dinosaurs grow, flourish and become extinct.
Even in ancient Hawaii the sea turtle was hunted as a valuable food source but the species was so respected then for its tranquility and serenity that the ali’i (royal members) very strictly controlled the sea hunts.
Sea turtles are actually marine reptiles and while they spend most of their time underwater they do have to come to the surface briefly to breathe. (See picture below)
Honu can live up to 80 years and will reach sexual maturity in 25 to 30 years. The sea turtle in these pictures may look large but it was just a wee little thing with the turtle shell being the size of a large hubcap. Fully mature green sea turtles can grow up to 5 feet in length and up to 300 lbs. I would say that the turtle I photographed was may 1.5 to 2 feet in length…so, it was a young turtle.
Future of the Green Sea Turtle
Since 1978 when the green sea turtle got on the endangered species list their number has grown greatly. However, their future is still in question because these beautiful creatures are still hunted despite international laws.
I’ve embedded a video that I just took of my latest encounter with a green sea turtle at Hanauma Bay. I really need to get better at taking video. Actually, the video starts and ends pretty clear and steady. The only part that gets really bad is when I try to take a video selfie with the turtle. Ah well, I just have t get better at capturing video. Maybe when I get my GoPro, things will get better.
Since I’ve had so much luck with hitting the water in Hawaii and getting the chance to swim with, take photos and video of these green sea turtles, I’ve taken to calling myself “Honu Hawanawana” or the “turtle whisperer”. It’s a name that I hope catches on. Here’s a fun little video I made!
For more photos of our Green Sea Turtle, please visit our Facebook page, below.