We are Peter Bennett and Ursula Keuper-Bennett, and we're from Mississauga, a suburb of Toronto. We are sport divers, with no training specific to marine turtles. I'm a technical writer by trade, and she's a teacher who has taken several oceanography courses offered during the University of Hawaii's summer program.
For many years, we have spent our summers on the island of Maui, at a small area called Honokowai. We stay right on the beach, and we do two or three dives every day. In 1989, our underwater explorations of the area took us to a large coral head where Hawaiian green turtles were congregating. We later found out that what we had discovered was a turtle cleaning station.
This explained the frequency with which we spotted turtles in our dive area. At first, we were just interested in getting nice videotape of these magnificent creatures, but we immediately noticed that many of the turtles we saw at the cleaning station--which we named the Turtle House--were afflicted with tumors.
By this time we had come to love the turtles, so we wanted to find out more about this problem, and to see what, if anything, could be done about it. Since then, we've become turtle watchers. We pay close attention to anything concerning turtles in the area our dives cover. We've read a lot, done a lot of diving, made a lot of images with still and video cameras--and even cried a lot.
We are no closer to knowing the cause of these awful tumors, but we have learned a number of things. One of them is that public awareness of this problem is non-existent. This is one of our attempts to rectify that.
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