Hilu [1993 Turtle 27]

Fetches a 69K JPEG

That was then (inset, 1993) and this is the last time we saw him (1996).

Quickstats: Seen 1993, 1994, 1995 (78K JPEG), 1996. Summer updates: 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004.

We first met this turtle in 1993. He is logged in as 1993 Turtle 27, the 27th turtle we sighted that year. For the most part, in 1993 he was wary. We could just get close enough to determine that he had tumors. Our log records tumors in the posterior corners of both eyes, and some white spots growing down the right side of his neck and on his shoulders.

In 1994, he was the tenth turtle sighted and he became more tolerant of our presence. As a result, we got some excellent photos of him. In many respects he is the most beautiful turtle we had ever seen. His left profile is unique and especially attractive. His brown markings resemble a fractured glass pattern that makes him easy to identify. His shell is an intricate play of colours and patterns and from a distance, he can be identified by his shell alone!

His condition got noticably worse in 1994. The tumors that grew at the rear of his eyes in 1993 were now larger. Both eyes now had tumors appearing in the front corners of the eyes as well. His right shoulder showed three tumors, two of which were the size of jumbo chicken eggs.

1993 Turtle 27 was named Hilu on July 13th 1995. For whatever reason, this turtle accepted us that summer. He allowed us to get a close as we wished. He would fly in and land near us and even beside us. He would swim directly over us to land. He trusted us. Hilu is Hawaiian for "still, quiet, dignified, elegant, magnificent" and Hilu is all of these things.

There was good news for Hilu in 1995. Both his eye tumors showed signs of regression. One of the three tumors on his right shoulder has all but disappeared, and the larger two have shrunk in size. All Hilu's tumors appeared to be regressing and no new visible tumors had grown over the previous year.

Whether this good fortune will continue for 1996 has yet to be seen.

Summer 1996 Update

Hilu was the first turtle we sighted in 1996. Through water murky from stormwater runoff, we had approached a large turtle. The turtle looked our way. The beautiful facial markings told us it was Hilu.

Tame as ever, Hilu let us photograph and videotape our first meeting, then left to get air. We were not quite prepared for the surprise. Swimming for the surface was a turtle trailing a long tail! Hilu had matured into a male.

Other turtles who have made this transition gave us hints. Usually, we've seen a noticeable shift in behaviour. Friendly, curious turtles become reclusive and at times intolerant of us. In 1996, Hilu had shown us no such behaviour.

Throughout the Summer of 96, however, we never saw him at the Turtle House. This was in sharp contrast to his almost daily presence during the summers of 1993 through 1995. Hilu might have been slow to change, becoming reclusive after the fact, but this beautiful turtle now prefers his own company.

The good news is that Hilu's tumors continued to regress since 1995. The shoulder tumors are still shrinking, and since 1995 his eye tumors have clearly gotten smaller as well. We hope to see Hilu again in 1997, and we look forward to his continued improvement.

Summer 1997 Update

We did not see Hilu in 1997. This was disappointing, since Hilu's tumors had been regressing and we wanted to see what had happened over the winter. As a newly mature male, Hilu could have made his first mating migration, or perhaps he was just playing the recluse. Whatever the reason, we missed him because he is, without question, one of the most attractive turtles we see. We hope that Hilu will be around at least part of the time in 1998.

Summer 1998 Update

We did not see Hilu in 1998. Since Hilu is a male, this is not unexpected or worrisome.

Summer 1999 Update

We did not see Hilu in 1999.

Summer 2000 Update

We did not see Hilu in 2000.

Summer 2001 Update

We did not see Hilu in 2001.

Summer 2002 Update

We did not see Hilu in 2002.

Summer 2003 Update

We did not see Hilu in 2003.

Summer 2004 Update

We did not see Hilu in 2004.

Estrelita [1992 Turtle 6]
Who's Who Underwater at Honokowai
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Last modified 04/09/18
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