Goofyfoot [1992 Turtle 7]

Fetches a 65K JPEG

That was then (inset, 1992) and this is the last time we saw him (1996).

Quickstats: Seen 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995 (73K JPEG), 1996. Summer updates: 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004.

We first met Goofyfoot in 1992. He was the seventh turtle sighted that summer. Our logs show he had early signs of tumors. Both his eyes showed tumor growth in the rear corners.

We named him Goofyfoot after his left rear flipper. It is uneven and looks as if it were chewed. Goofyfoot is the only turtle we can identify even when we see his profile on the surface, thanks to his feet. If you study his left profile, you will see another reason why his name is an apt one. With imagination you can make out a foot print (actually a foot and three toes) in the bottom right side of his profile. That marking is unique to Goofyfoot.

There is little we have to say about him in 1992. He was just simply there. By 1993, however, we noticed the beginning of a "personality" in this turtle. Perhaps he had just grown accustomed to our presence, but he became a main player at the Turtle House. He had his favourite place and he was not amused when another turtle claimed it in his absence. Goofyfoot tends to get into more scuffles over resting places than anyone else and can be quite obnoxious about it.

1994 was a good year for Goofyfoot. The eye tumors that showed improvement in 1993 were completely gone by '94. This summer, his eyes remained clear although he was sporting some suspicious white spots on his neck and shoulders. Time will tell, but for the moment, Goofyfoot is one of only 3 turtles who have shown tumor regression at Honokowai.

Goofyfoot is a character. For whatever reason, he doesn't care who is in his spot. On occasion, one of us has been the squatter, and he treats us just as though we were fellow turtles. He hovers just a few inches above our heads, eyeball to eyeball, until we move. Then he settles down to relax.

He will also sneak up behind us and nip our fins, which gets us moving very quickly. While he is capable of inflicting an impressive bite on body parts, for reasons of his own he has limited his nibbling to diver fins instead.

Despite our convention of assuming turtles to be female until proven otherwise, after Goofyfoot became assertive we felt that he might actually be a young male. It is difficult to be sure, but close examination of our 1995 video seems to show that Goofyfoot's tail is beginning to grow. We won't be surprised at all if Goofyfoot turns out to be a young male in 1996.

Summer 1996 Update

We resighted Goofyfoot on July 2, 1996, during our fifth dive. His tail seemed even longer than it did the year before, when we first suspected that Goofyfoot was an emerging male.

It was clear Goofyfoot's condition had improved again. There was no evidence of the tumors that clung to both his eyes back in 1992. In previous years he also sported several small shoulder tumors, and these too had disappeared to such an extent there wasn't even evidence of scarring.

There was more good news. Goofyfoot had clearly prospered over the 10 months since we'd seen him last. While he might not have gotten much longer, he clearly hadn't missed many lunches. He clearly grew in overall girth, giving him a rather regal profile.

Since he became a mature male, his behaviour has changed dramatically. Back in 92 and 93, Goofyfoot was a daily visitor to the Turtle House. He was tolerant and he interacted with other turtles on numerous occasions. His behaviour could be interpreted as being outgoing and even friendly. Then, at about the same time that we began to suspect that he was a maturing male, we started seeing behaviour changes.

This summer the change was even more pronounced. Oh, Goofyfoot remembered us all right. Ursula was lying close to his traditional favourite spot. Typically, he swam straight for her, hovered over her head, and forced her to move. She did, but he settled somewhere else anyway. He let us photograph him closely, and afterwards relaxed on the reef as he used to do. When the time came for him to get air, he swam for the surface but then never came back... for the whole summer.

Three other previously friendly turtles have now behaved in much the same way once they "turned" male. Hilu now resides more to the south of our dive site. Estrelita was sighted only twice, and never at the Turtle House. Nui, a turtle we have known since 1990 who turned male in 1994, wasn't even sighted at all.

We are not sure why previously tolerant and even friendly young turtles would behave so radically different once puberty kicks in. We are the losers though. It makes monitoring their progress exceedingly difficult and we miss the antics that so endeared them to us when they were still young and sociable. It's not because males avoid us--this summer we saw several males almost daily.

We have now added Goofyfoot to the list of turtles whose tumors have regressed.

Summer 1997 Update

Goofyfoot was not seen in 1997. This was not entirely unexpected. Goofyfoot had matured into a male in 1996 and spent little time around the Turtle House that year. Other newly matured males have exhibited this same pattern, making infrequent appearances and sometimes disappearing for a whole summer. Goofyfoot was improving the last time we saw him, and we have no reason to think he hasn't continued to get better. We don't think we've seen the last of this lovable rascal.

Summer 1998 Update

We did not see Goofyfoot in 1998.

Summer 1999 Update

We did not see Goofyfoot in 1999.

Summer 2000 Update

We did not see Goofyfoot in 2000.

Summer 2001 Update

We did not see Goofyfoot in 2001.

Summer 2002 Update

We did not see Goofyfoot in 2002.

Summer 2003 Update

We did not see Goofyfoot in 2003.

Summer 2004 Update

We did not see Goofyfoot in 2004.

Hilu [1993 Turtle 27]
Who's Who Underwater at Honokowai
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Last modified 04/09/18
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