Swim with the Sea Turtles of Maui
Although we can never guarantee you will see Hawaiian sea turtles, it is quite likely that you will sight them during your snorkel trip to Coral Gardens! Some of the best snorkeling in Maui is at Coral Gardens, which is located just south of Olowalu and fronting the West Maui mountains. While snorkeling in Maui, you can often spot green sea turtles coming up to the surface to breathe, eating algaea off of the rocks or lying on the ocean floor. These magestic creatures are fascinating to watch, but just make sure to remain atleast 15 feet away from them and keep your arms by your side. Touching or harassing sea turtles in any way is completely illegal in the state of Hawaii and violators can be fined up to $100,000! Hawaiian green sea turtles are listed as an endangered species and were in steep decline during the 1970s because of harvesting both turtles and eggs by humans. The population has greatly increased over the last thirty years. Green sea turtles are the most common species of sea turtle found in Hawaiian waters.
Interesting Facts About Sea Turtles
- Hawaiian green sea turtles, also known as “Honu” in Hawaiian language, have a lifespan of approximately 60-70 years. Sea turtles can weigh up to 700 pounds, which makes them one of the largest turtles in the world!
- The green sea turtles in Maui primarily feast on algae, although juvenile green turtles have been known to eat invertebrates like: jellyfish, crabs, and sponges. This is one of the reasons we typically see turtles close to the shoreline at Coral Gardens or Olowalu.
- The shell of a sea turtle is called the ‘carapace’ and the underneath portion of the shell is called the ‘plastron’.
- It is estimated that only 1 out of every 5,000 hatchlings reach adulthood.
- Females lay their eggs on the beach.
- Turtles main predators are definitely sharks, especially tiger sharks. Humans also play an involvement in the descreasing number of turtles, due to entanglement in fishing line, ingesting plastic, poaching and ocean pollution. Respect the beautiful Honu!