Green Sea TurtleHawaiian Green Sea Turtles are called "Honu" in the Hawaiian language. For hundreds of years Polynesian cultures have harvested and used the sea turtles for a variety of things from food and storage to jewelry. The turtles beautiful shell was prized by many and almost caused their extinction.
Today they are protected as an endangered species but are extremely common if you know where to look.
There are several beaches here on the Big Island where Green Sea Turtles like to haul themselves out of the water to bask in the sun and sleep. Hauling themselves out of the water is hard work but they are safe from their main predator the Tiger shark. The sun also helps get their body temperature up. The beach is a perfect place for them to relax and take a nap.
Punalu'u black sand beach on the south part of the big island is known for their green sea turtle viewing. The beach at Honokohau state park is also a good place to view turtles as well as beaches at the Four Seasons Hualali.
Though sea turtles are air breathers, they spend most of their time in the water. Their ornate shell helps them blend in with the reef when necessary. They feed on algae, Jelly fish, and certain types of Mollusk. Sea turtles can hold their breath and sleep underwater coming up periodically for air.
Honokohau Harbor, in Kona, has a plethora of turtles that hang out and eat the limu algae off the mooring balls and chains holding the boats. The Sea turtles also like to eat the fish carcases fishermen discard after cleaning their catch.
All along the Kona coast are places on the reef called "cleaning stations". A cleaning station is a location where larger animals are cleaned by smaller animals. Both the cleaner and the animal being cleaned know where this location is an use it as a mutually beneficial location.
In the instance of turtles it is often tang and wrasses who come and eat the algae and dead skin off the turtles shells. For solitary animals such as turtles and manta rays and some species of shark, it is common to see multiple animals at a cleaning station.
If you come accross a sea turtle durring you explorations of our Islands please be respectful and give them thier space. If you are swimming with a sea turtle please do not try to get close to them as they surface for air, they have to breath just like us. Remember you are the same size as their main preditor in the wild.