Being the most awesome character in Finding Nemo, I think Green Turtles deserve a little appreciation for the fascinating creatures that they are. It’s a dream of many to dive/snorkel with them and I’m lucky enough to have had the opportunity to do just that at El Puertito in Tenerife.
Green turtles can hold their breath for up to 5 hours, significantly longer than other species of turtles. They are very graceful swimmers and as such are incredible to freedive with. Having said that some turtles have been spotted catching a few rays, venturing out onto land to warm themselves by sunbathing. I don’t think you’ll spot them down at Bora Bora though.
These beasts of the ocean can weigh over 300 kilo which makes them one of the largest species of turtles in existence.
Even with a comically small head in comparasion to thier bodies, they can’t retract it back into the shell which means no hiding from snap happy dive photographers.
You can identify a macho, which are usually the larger ones by the slightly longer tail.
You may be surprised to know, but anyone that has swam with them can confirm this but they are not actually green. The shell has a more brownish hue to it, and thier name really comes from the colour of thier skin under the shell which resembles a more greenish tone.
Only the young uns are meat eaters, feasting on crabs and jellyfish until full adulthood when they switch to a more vegetarian diet, eating algae and seaweed.
Green turtles are ancient reptiles which can live up to 80 years old, however they are classified as an endangered species. Mostly humans are to blame (tiger sharks are known to hunt them), with the destruction of nesting beaches to make way for seaside resorts and the illegal sale of eggs, shells and even turtle meat, which is considered a delicacy in some countries. I implore you to not encourage this behaviour and increase the demand of these products by staying well away from purchasing these types of items while travelling. Just in case you think a turtle skin handbag looks good, I assure you it looks a lot better on a happy turtle.
Have you had the chance to swim with one of these relics of the seven seas? Or have an idea of what needs to be done so we can keep enjoying oberving these wonderful animals for many years to come? Let me know in the comment box below…..
Dive Boat Ammo
Full name: green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas)
Also known as: green turtle, black turtle, black sea turtle, Pacific green turtle
Average life : 80 years
Size: Up to 1.5 m
Weight: Upto 315kilo
Protection status: Endangered