That was then (inset, 1991) and this is the last time we saw her (1995).
|Quickstats: Seen 1991, 1992, 1995.||Summer updates: 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004.|
We first saw this turtle in 1991 and she was the tenth turtle we sighted that year. That summer our dive site and the whole of West Maui experienced its worst ever algae bloom. As a result, we were more interested in observing and monitoring algae than we were turtles. Although we logged this turtle, we did not make an effort to get a better picture. Consequently, the insert in the image below is quite poor, but it is still good enough to make out the profile. It is not hard to match with its 1995 image.
The 1991 image doesn't hint at the eye tumors this animal would have 12 months later. Compare this video image of its 1992 left profile. A tumor had completely covered the eye. The right eye tumor, not shown here, was even larger!
A video frame capture of 91-10 in 1992.
We did not see this animal in 93 or 94, but in 1995 she was a regular visitor at the Turtle House. Also, as you can tell by the photograph, she allowed us to approach as closely as we wished. She would also "fly in" and settle down to rest while we were there.
This tolerance could be the result of us getting much better and quieter around turtles. Unfortunately, we think there is a more likely reason. Tumors attract all manner or parasites and leeches. She no longer had a left eye. It had been eaten away and the interior can be easily viewed in the photo below. She was lethargic and when she swam, she did so both slowly and reluctantly.
My saddest recollection of her was when I was lying at the bottom of the reef photographing another turtle. I happened to see her approach. Blind, she could not see the large volcanic outcropping directly in her path. She swam beak first right into the rock, tumbled, then landed.
Fibropapilloma tumors have given us many unhappy memories. This turtle, left eye eaten away, is just one. Surprisingly, she was not emaciated and we really do expect to see her next year. Should the disease work its usual course, however, the summer of 1996 will probably be her last.
91-10 was not seen in 1996.
91-10 was not seen in 1997. We believe 91-10 is dead.
91-10 was not seen in 1998.
91-10 was not seen in 1999.
91-10 was not seen in 2000.
91-10 was not seen in 2001.
91-10 was not seen in 2002.
91-10 was not seen in 2003.
91-10 was not seen in 2004.
||Hoahele [1995 Turtle 28]|
||Who's Who Underwater at Honokowai|
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