They are, to Maui, what pigeons are to New York City... part of every day life.
I stalk them in their habitat, draw them, and now... I'm even writing about them.
|I designed this for a T-shirt|
I snorkel a lot and I am always thrilled to come across Honu, and I usually follow them around for at least a little while. They are such graceful, proud creatures that glide effortlessly around the reef, munching limu and finding spots to chill. A few years ago, I saw this one chilling on the bottom, where it stayed for almost 15 minutes.
Because of my limited underwater photo ability (waterproof disposable cameras)... this remains my best, clearest shot. One day, when I have some disposable income, I'll upgrade to a better camera and hopefully, take pictures more like these:
Until then, I'll just have to look at them, enjoy their company, and be grateful to be able to grace their presence. If you'd like to snorkel with me, let me know... (and go buy one of those disposable underwater cameras).
Back in 2005, I joined a volunteer program called the "Dawn Patrol." It was a group of eco-friendly folks that had some early morning time on their hands, and also felt the need to help the endangered turtles. Everyone was assigned a beach and a day, and it was your job to walk it at sunrise, before anyone else got there, looking for the telltale signs of a turtle that had laid eggs overnight. Once spotted, it was recorded and covered up, so that nobody could harm the nest. From the collected data, the hatching date was computed and a small gathering of people were invited to spend those nights waiting for the nest to hatch. As a reward for being on the Dawn Patrol, you were given an invite. As the baby turtles hatched, they were filmed and overseen making their way to the ocean.
We were shown many pictures of turtle trails so that we would know what to look for... most looked like these:
So, every Wednesday morning, I left my house while it was still dark... headed to Big Beach and Little Beach in Makena. Often, I would wait for the park ranger to unlock the gate as the sun began to come up over the volcano.
Unfortunately, during that season, I came across no turtle tracks to report.
I did, however, come across this rare Purple Horned Turtle (which I photographed and shared with the Dawn Patrol... much to their amusement):
This is what the path to the beach looked like in the early morning (heading back to my car):
|Notice the Ranger tracks|
I did this poster for the Dawn Patrol volunteers:
Over the years, I've noticed and collected many honu pix.
Here are a few of my favorites:
|Baby Ninja Turtle|
|up, up and away....|