Sea turtles, or Honus as they are called in Hawaiian are both plentiful and friendly on the Big Island, Hawaii. The western coast is the leeward side of the island and generally remains protected from major winds and heavy surf. The turtles can be seen in all depths while SCUBA diving or snorkeling, but are particularly plentiful along the shallow reefs where the sun reaches the coral and algae and promotes growth.
In this video the turtles were all feeding in shallow water in 20 – 40 foot depths. They were unafraid of divers or snorkelers and you could approach them and watch them feed. They are primarily eating algae growing between the coral. At times, a turtle will stick his head deep into the reef to bite off a large piece. Often a turtle will use it’s front fins to push up away from the reef bringing a chunk of algae with it.
There are several types of turtles in Hawaii. These are primarily green sea turtles. Hawksbill turtles and Olive Ridleys are also in the area. Hawaiian petroglyphs depict turtles and have been part of the Hawaiian culture for many years.
When snorkeling or SCUBA diving with sea turtles always approach them cautiously and slowly. Never touch them or try to ride them. Keep in mind that sea turtles breath air. If you trap them or interfere with their natural pattern of ascending to breath it will stress them and could even cause them to drown. Always respect the environment and the wildlife in it.
This underwater video was taken with a GoPro (https://gopro.com) Hero 4 Black and dual Light and Motion Sola 2000 video lights. The camera is mounted to an Ikelite steady tray, and Ultralight Arms are used to attach the lights to the tray. For the video taken during the day, the Backscatter Flip 4 Dive filter was used. The GoPro was set to 1440 with 60 FPS. The music added during editing is from www.bensound.com.