A Green Turtle is swimming near a reef called The Blow Hole near the island of Oahu in Hawaii. This turtle was enormous. It was 3 feet long and over 2 feet wide. Sea turtles are remarkable swimmers. They are fast and graceful underwater, unlike their slow cousins that live on land.
Green Turtles can be identified by the pattern of plates on their shells. Green Turtles have only two plates on their foreheads between their eyes. This helps distinguish them from the similar Hawksbill Turtles, which have four plates on their foreheads. Sea turtles breathe air. They must return to the surface of the ocean to breathe, and they hold their breath when they dive.
Chuck Evans took this photograph. Chuck saw this turtle at The Blow Hole two days in a row. It was very curious and swam nearby, giving Chuck a good opportunity for this photograph. The Blow Hole is a popular site for scuba diving on Oahu. Divers wade into the ocean from the beach near Hanauma Bay, and swim along the shore to where there is a cave under an overhang in a cliff along the shore. Diving at this site can be dangerous, as currents caused by the tides can change quickly. The cave has a small window in its ceiling. As waves crash into the cave, water builds up until it shoots out the window at the top of the cave. The fountain of water looks something like a whale at sea exhaling through its blowhole, and gives this diving site its colorful name. Whales migrate to the oceans near Hawaii, and Chuck saw several of them from shore. Sometimes divers can hear whales "singing" underwater, and a lucky few divers even see whales.
Many sea turtles are endangered. People catch them to make things from their shells and to eat them, and people also gather their eggs for food. We must protect all sea turtles carefully, to keep them from becoming extinct. Turtles are protected in many parts of the world, and Green Turtles are protected by law in Hawaii. Protecting sea turtles from hunters may help to keep them from becoming extinct.