Tag Archives: Turtles

First Big Island visit

Pololu beach

Turtle at PunuluuTropical foliageLava flowingThis week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Turning point.’ (See more responses here.) Since this is a photo blog about the Big Island it seems appropriate to post some photos from my first visit here in 2010, a visit which was the catalyst for the move to the island. There was no ‘ah ha’ moment, but these photos give a general idea of some of the things that appealed.

The top photo is Pololu beach on the North Kohala coast. Top left is a Hawaiian green turtle resting on the black sand beach at Punalu’u County Beach Park. Center left is tropical foliage next to a small cascading stream. Bottom left shows some small lava breakouts in the flow that was active at that time. Conveniently, that activity was about 100 yards from the parking area and only 10 feet or so beyond where I was standing. The bottom photo is a view of Two Step, a popular snorkeling spot, from Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park.

Two Step from Place of Refuge

Green turtle feeding

Green turtle and tidepool

Green turtle feedingGreen turtle feedsToward the end of a hike along the coast, I came across this turtle feeding in a shallow tidal area. There was good grazing to be had, but the problem was that the ledge was continually swept by incoming waves.

The turtle would swim in and access the ledge from the shore side (on the right in the top photo). Then he lumped forward to where the good grazing was and buried his head in it (photos at right).

Waves would surge in and sluice over him (below). Sometimes, the receding wave had enough oomph that it would wash the turtle over the front edge of the ledge. Then he’d swim around and start over again.

Green turtle surge

Green turtle closeup

Green Turtle closeup

A Hawaiian green turtle lifts its head after resting on the sand at Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park. The park is one of many good places on the island to see turtles, either on the beach or foraging in the shallow waters there.

For more information about Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, go to https://www.nps.gov/kaho/index.htm or bigislandhikes.com/kaloko-honokohau-park/.

Punalu’u turtles

Punaluu turtles resting

Turtles are creatures of the water. The only reason they have to venture ashore is to lay eggs, but in Hawaii, green turtles like to find a beach and spend a lazy day basking in the sunshine. This helps them conserve energy and keeps them safe from sharks.

On the Big Island there are a number of places where turtles are frequently seen on shore. One of them is Punalu’u Beach Park, on the Kau coast, which has a lovely black sand beach ideal for getting a bit of rest. Well, it would be ideal except for that most annoying and obtuse of creatures, the human.

There are apparently large numbers of people who don’t know how to read the numerous signs telling them to keep their distance from the turtles. There are a fair number of people who think the world would be a better place if only there existed a photo of them sitting beside or on top of a turtle.

These days, park staff or volunteers tape off the area where the turtles are resting. This seems to help. The bottom photo was taken from behind the tape with a moderate telephoto lens so it’s not like anyone’s being deprived of getting a good view.

Posted in response to this week’s Sunday Stills challenge on the theme of ‘Lazy Days.’ See more responses here.

Punaluu turtle resting

Three green turtles and a passenger

Three green turtles

It’s not unusual to see green turtles hauled out on shore. Sandy beaches are prime resting spots, but these three chose this rocky bay, only a few hundred yards from some of the best beaches on the island. Perhaps they valued quiet over easy access.

The middle one of the three had gained a passenger that I didn’t notice until I processed the photos, an a’ama crab, making the most of its excellent vantage point.

Green turtle and A'ama crab

Green turtle swimming

Green Turtle swimming

Following up on my recent shark encounter, a more serene sighting in the same general area, but on a different day.

I saw this green turtle gliding toward me and catching the light in a lovely way. Clumsy on land, turtles are a different animal in the water — graceful, effortless, and at ease in their environment.