Howzit [1992 Turtle 3]

Click image to enlarge

That was then (inset, 1992) and this is the last time we saw him (1995).
Click image to enlarge
Quickstats: Seen 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995. Summer updates: 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998 to present.

We first met Howzit in 1992. That year, our area was blessed with several small new arrivals. We were treated to the sight of these youngsters swimming around together clearly enjoying each other's company.

Such activity would tucker Howzit out and he would rest in his favoured location in a coral depression. He had a ritual. He would swim in a circle a couple of times (much like a dog turns before he rests) while considering landing. Once down, he would then make little flipper movements much like turtles do to cover themselves with sand--only there was never any sand.

Howzit would then settle down to the serious business of watching--watching other turtles, watching fish, watching us watching him. Small turtles have proportionally large eyes. Howzit gave the impression he was eyes with a turtle attached.

That summer, he had an unfortunate white marking below his right eye, much like a chalk mark. Whatever it was, it caused him no end of misery, because it was the constant target of saddleback wrasses who would bite at this mark. Over that summer, we witnessed frequent bites at his right eye.

In 1993, the mark had gone and Howzit had grown and prospered. Turtles have personalities, and for his size, Howzit is quite confident and brassy. We have watched him nudge much larger turtles from his favourite spot with the nip of a rear flipper. We have seen him come down after getting a lungful of air and buzz an inch or two above the head of one of us.

Last summer worried us. He showed a suspicious white irregular lump on the left side of his neck. We also noticed some white spots on the neck and shoulders, and wondered if this might be "salt and pepper." Enlarging our photo CDs of him has increased our concern.

We reassure ourselves with the realization that sometimes white spots are just that--white spots.

Summer 1995 Update

Howzit is our biggest heartbreak from 1995. As his photo shows, Howzit is now afflicted with tumors. We believe he is suffering from internal tumors as well, since his plastron is concave and has begun to turn black. He has barely grown since 1994, and he is obviously emaciated--this while living in an area saturated with edible seaweeds.

Howzit has always representative of the young turtles of Honokowai. We would like to be able to say that the onslaught of tumors infesting Howzit's little body means that he no longer is the typical Honokowai youngster, but we cannot. Tragically, Howzit is still symbolic of the young turtles living in the waters of Honokowai.

We believe we have seen Howzit for the last time.

Summer 1996 Update

As expected, Howzit did not show up at the Turtle House this summer. While we believe fibropapilloma disease has claimed a loved and special friend, we cannot prove that Howzit is dead.

This year, we add Howzit to our growing list of tumored turtles who are missing and presumed dead. Man, did we miss him!

Last year we wrote an essay for children called Why Howzit is Dying. Now it is time for a tribute and aloha. Please see Remembering Howzit.

Summer 1997 to present

We have not seen Howzit since 1995, nor do we expect to. We believe Howzit is dead.

Video of Howzit

Howzit disappeared from our lives before we learned how to make decent underwater video. The quality is further reduced when rendered in a format suitable for YouTube and Google online video. This short clip is excerpted from video made in the period 1990 to 1992.

Noke, a/k/a Lefty [1990 Turtle 8]
Who's Who Underwater at Honokowai
Table of Contents
Last modified 07/11/04
Send comments or corrections to