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Sea Turtles

Sea Turtles
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You can hardly go swimming here without seeing a sea turtle.  Kahaluu is a popular snorkeling beach near town.  We sometimes call it Turtle Beach because in addition to the thousands of fish there are always plenty of turtles.  The turtles have grown quite accustomed to all the people and will even lay out and sun themselves on the crowded beach.  Sea turtles are endangered so riding or otherwise harassing the turtles can carry big fines.  But sometimes the turtles don't follow the rules.  I once saw an older woman standing in about two feet of water while her husband stood on the shore and pointed to a turtle, she was so busy looking for the turtle she didn't notice the one right behind her until it swam between her legs and knocked her over.

Scuba The best time to go to the beach is in the morning before it gets too hot and windy.  Last weekend we took the entire family, including our new dog, to one of our favorite beaches.  Sure enough, there were several turtles swimming around in the shallow water grazing on the algae that grows on the rocks.  We watched the turtles for awhile until the girls found a sandy spot where they could play.

I had been invited to join the local scuba club on a short dive.  The beach entry was real easy but then we swam a couple thousand yards out to a "turtle cleaning station."  It's in about 55 feet of water so, other than the swim out, it's a fairly easy dive.  Turtles and fish have somehow agreed to make this their meeting spot.  The turtles will make a special trip here and hang out while the fish clean their shells.  Sometimes there can be some really giant turtles that swim in for their cleaning.

The green sea turtle (Honu in Hawaiian) is by far the most common turtle in Hawaii.  Hawksbill, leatherback and olive ridley turtles can also be found around Hawaii but are less common.  I'll have to dive this spot again some time with an underwater housing for my camera.  If I had one this time, I could have gotten some great pictures.

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