Photo: Quick Breath

Quick Breath

Early evening, a group of six or so green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) were grazing on the algae covered rocks in a small cove next to the place we were staying. The surf was a little rough, but that didn't discourage them from getting right up next to the most shallow rock outcrops. Apparently, having armor pays off since the best clumps of algae grow on the lava rocks near the surface, where there's the most light. At one point this particular turtle was pushed on top of the rocks by the waves, but it recovered easily enough and kept grazing in the same spot. It was interesting and fun behavior to watch.

Technical Details Aperture Value: f/5.6 Focal Length: 300mm Exposure Program: Aperture Priority ISO: 400 Shutter Speed Value: 1/1000 sec Location: Maui, Hawaii

Turtle on a Mission


This shot was taking during the second dive of a boat trip. Unfortunately I was getting over a cold I had acquired midweek and just wasn't able to equalize past ten feet. I gave up on the dive and opted for snorkeling instead.

This location, just off of Wailea Point in Maui, was fairly shallow (somewhere around twenty feet). As it turned out, snorkling was probably the better choice. Right after handing by gear back to the awesome boat crew, they pointed out a small green sea turtle that had just surfaced about thirty feet away. I quickly swam over to it and observed it for a minute until it dove again. I then followed from above as it leisurly glided over the reef below. The turtle seemed to be on a mission, albeit, not a very time critical one. It followed the conture of the bottom as I watched from above, probably looking for a nice bit to rest on or some tasty seaweed to nibble.

After about five minutes of following. Something large caught my eye. Off to the left, the turtle and I stumbled upon a small school of milkfish (chanos chanos). There were about a half a dozen of the one and a half meter long fish in the school. I tried to approach for a photo, but they were very wary and eyed me suspeciously before dissapearing into the slighly murky water. I brought my attention back to the turtle who hadn't wandered very far.

At this point I was getting a bit bored with watching it, so I scanned the surface for any other turtles. Off to my right near the dive boat was a group of snorkelers. They seemed to be on to something so I puddled over to check out the spot. Sure enough, where there were snorkelers there were three turtles resting on the reef below. Two large ones with mossy shells and one small one with a clean shell.

One of the large ones decided that it wanted the patch of reef that the other large was was occupying. It slowly drifted over and started biting the other turtle until it moved. The other turtle nipped back a few times before relinquishing it's bed. The displaced turtle surfaced right next to me. I had to reposition myself as the wave action was causing us to drift into each other. After getting several good breaths of air, the turtle descended and bullied the small turtle into giving up its spot. Apparently the only good places to rest on that reef were those spots already occupied by other turtles. There were several more turtle sightings as well as a pissed off octopus (the dive guide got a cloud of ink in his face) before I got back on the boat.

Technical Details Aperture Value: f/3.8 Focal Length: 10 mm Exposure Program: Auto ISO: 64 Shutter Speed Value: 1/80 sec Camera: Casio EX-V7 Post processing color correction applied