Posted by: onboardtourswhales | March 29, 2012

Surfing Honu Turtles!

March 22 and 24, 2012

Thursday, we happened to be running errands in Kahului, the wind was blowing hard so we decided to head to the beach to check out the surf. We ended up in a side street behind a shipping company and power plant, found a small parking area and walked along a concrete and rock wall. Imagine our shock when we saw 50? or more Green Sea Turtles all grouped together, side by side, under and over each other, as they surfed the big waves in a small, somewhat open cove, right below us. It was amazing to watch them handle the surf, not hitting the rocks, raising their heads up to breathe!

Some of the turtles do have tumor like growths, so I thought I recognized one of the turtles I’d seen basking on a beach east of there a week ago. NOAA science data shows a correlation between nitrogen rich (sewage related) watershed runoff that feeds invasive algae the herbivore turtles are feasting on. Unfortunately, that seems to trigger the turtle herpes virus fibrous tumors. Particularly for the Hawaiian near shore turtles, who have site fidelity and are year round residents.

I didn’t have my camera with me, made to sure to bring it Saturday, another windy, high surf day. The turtles were there again, maybe a favorite place, and/or a good hiding spot from sharks. They also utilize the tides and currents. The 2’ and 2’+ flooding tides were peaking, so slack water, on both days around the 3pm to 4pm time frame we watched them. 

Our human recovery efforts have helped the turtles. We need to clean up our watersheds. And we can learn from them, those that survive the egg hatching, return to the sea, manage to evade multiple predators, and avoid human impacts, can live hundreds of harmonious, environmentally healthy, years!

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  1. So many in one spot.

    • Yeah, so amazing to see a large, close, community of Green Sea Turtles!

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