Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Sea Green Turtles . . .

With such a short time in Hawaii (four days) it seems a good idea to squeeze in as much as possible, so we took a trip to the north shore in search of turtles . . .

I had caught a glimpse of one in the water by the bar at our hotel, but we'd been told they where almost guaranteed on the northern shore - so off we went.

Probably not my best option using a camera phone to photograph birds, however it's all I had to hand.

And I couldn't resist these little Brazilian Cardinals . . . or the waders fishing in the prawn producing ponds or what I think may be a type of (pretty cute) egret . . .
So much of hawaiian vegetation is non-native species, human contact, first by Polynesians and later by Europeans, has had a significant impact. 
Both the Polynesians and Europeans cleared native forests and introduced non-indigenous species for agriculture (or by accident), driving many endemic species to extinction. Early Polynesian canoe migration probably brought the coconut, papaya and breadfruit. The British brought cattle and plants for them to graze, now that the cattle are not free to roam (and graze) the plants have colonised large areas.

Papaya waiting to be picked.
A baby mango growing from the old stump.
The beaches along the northern shore are prettier and less crowded than those at Waikiki . . .
And find turtles we did, they were drawing quite a crowd!

At Waimea bay, two sea green turtles are laying, resting in the sun. Each turtle had an attendant and was crooned off from the public behind a red rope. Which amused me at first, that was until one of the volunteers explained that there had been some nasty attacks on the turtles . . .

It would seem that turtle do not have an awareness of people (this makes them vulnerable to our spices) and added to that, I was told, if we touch them and they have any broken skin we can infect them with our bacteria to which they have no immunity.

So, respect to the volunteers that train to look after these remarkable creatures and come down to the beach when ever the turtles appear.

This male is about 30 years old, they know the age from information on the tag just under his skin. He has scarring over his left eye, probably from a propeller blade, and has lost the use of that eye. Previously he was hospitalised so they could tend to the eye, and was released back into the sea about two weeks ago. His attendant thinks this chap is still in recovery from his head wound and will possibly rest more than usual.

This female is named Ipo (hawaiian for sweetheart) and her tag shows that in 2004 she made a 1,000 mile migration and also an astonishing dive of 135 metres.

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