For a variety of reasons, this week we didn't dive as often as we have in previous weeks. As a consequence, this summary is rather brief. This has been a summer of some ups and more downs than we'd like, with mixed results. Next week, we'll tie it all together. For now, we offer these few comments.
Many evenings this summer, just after sunset, we've spotted a small turtle surfacing for air right at the point where we enter the water to start our dives. Usually, the youngster hangs around for about 15-30 minutes in water that is just knee to waist deep. After many attempts to get a good look at her through binoculars, we tentatively identified the turtle as 1997 Turtle 18. While there is no way to be sure, our night visitor does seem to be afflicted with tumors about the eyes, neck, and mouth, just as 97-18 is.
1997 Turtle 18 spends most of her day under a ledge just offshore from the condo where we stay, with her head thrust into a hole.
1997 Turtle 18 spends most of her day under a ledge just offshore from the condo where we stay, with her head thrust into a hole. We pass by her "home" twice on every dive, so we know that she is there almost all the time. At times, a seaweed called hooked red hypnea accumulates on our beach and just offshore, so we speculated that she could be feeding. This seaweed is abundant everywhere on this part of the West Maui coast, however, so why would she choose this particular beach? Another turtle mystery that we will probably never solve.
Today, Saturday August 23rd, we experienced one of those moments that was extraordinary because it has become commonplace. Tutu and Zaphod were both resting quietly at the Turtle House. Almost simultaneously, they decided to swim to the surface for air. When they finished, they both swam slowly and gracefully down to the same places they had left a few minutes before. That's it.
What makes this experience special is history. When we first encountered Tutu in 1990, she was wary, never allowing us to approach. We didn't get a good photo of her until 1995. Similarly, Zaphod was extremely shy at first, and it took some time before she relaxed in our presence. Today, however, both turtles come and go and pay us no attention unless we're in their way.
Well, there was one other thing. As Zaphod descended and swam over Ursula, she was so relaxed she, ummm, sought relief. (Maybe it was editorial comment.)
Summer of '97 at Honokowai
Who's Who Underwater at Honokowai
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