Hawaiian Turtles may be slow, but they can cover great distances!

Dec 6, 2020 | General Information

Sea turtles (‘honu’ in Hawaiian) are one of the most interesting forms of sea life to be found in the waters of Hawaii These sea turtles, which are primarily the ‘Pacific Green Turtles’ are found on all the Hawaiian Islands and in fact are directly related to species of turtles that are found throughout the entire planet. Though not found in the areas near the poles the turtles found in the Pacific Ocean are found as far north as the southern coasts of Alaska, the southern regions of Russia, the coastline of Chile and the North Island of New Zealand.

Because these turtles are generally associated with the notion of being slow swimmers, (and they generally are slow only propelling themselves along at a speed of perhaps a bit over a mile an hour), it is generally assumed that they don’t travel long distances. This is not correct as the majority of Hawaiian turtles travel a distance of about 500 miles west to and from the French Frigate Shoals to nest and give birth. Once born and emerging through the dangerous periods of early life in which many will die they will in some cases live to be octogenarians as they have little in the way of natural predators with the exception of humans who often tangle them up in their fishing nets and sharks, particularly in Hawaii the Tiger sharks who can crunch through their hard shells with the tremendous power of their jaws.

Adult sea turtles are fairly docile and can generally be seen in shallow reef areas along the coastline where the scour the bottom for sea algae. The majority of their time is spent underwater although since they require air to breathe they need to show up at the surface for at least a quick breath every five minutes of so. It is during these intervals that they can be seen most frequently.