See a true Hawaiian local on your Kauai vacation. Our green sea turtles “Honu” are older than Hawaii and have a special place in the minds and hearts of our people. During your Kauai vacation rental stay you will have many opportunities to view these graceful swimmers shown in today’s video. They can travel in the ocean at speeds as fast as 35 miles an hour and also swim in shallow water where Kauai snorkel enthusiasts can see them from a safe distance of 10 to 15 feet away.
To the early Hawaiians the Honu were an important source for food, tools and ornamentation when their numbers were strong. After the arrival of western culture their numbers plummeted and in 1978, Honu were placed on the list of endangered species. Green sea turtles can live up to 80 years of age. With a robust conservation program, we can see all Hawaiian Sea Turtles mature and live long lives.
Green Turtles Nest on Kauai . There are between 6-8 nesting females that lay their eggs on the north and south shores of Kauai. The females are on a two year nesting cycle and usually lay over a hundred eggs every two weeks from the end of May to September. That’s 1,200 to 1,400 eggs each season!
Best Places to View Green Sea Turtles
South Shore Kauai. Go to Brennecke Beach across from Nihi Kai Villas and watch them from the shore. Another place is above Whalers Cove. When you go Kauai snorkeling, see them in the ocean off Lawai Beach next to the famous Beach House restaurant.
Three Varieties of Hawaiian Turtles
1. Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle (Honu). Primarily vegetarian and algae eating, Honu can grow to 250 pounds or more and dive to depths of 500 feet. It takes between 25-40 years for a Hawaiian green turtle to reach maturity and reproduce for the first time. Every 2-5 years they migrate hundreds of miles to mate and nest in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands at isolated French Frigate Shoals.
2. Hawksbill (Honu`ea). Small in numbers and rare, these Hawaii turtles are found around most islands expect Kauai. Mature Hawksbill are 3 feet long and weigh 200 pounds.
3. Leatherback. Largest turtle in the world at 8 feet long and 2,000 pounds, they are seen in Hawaii’s deep offshore waters. Leatherback’s feed on jellyfish and other invertebrates. This is the only sea turtle without a hard shell. A rare nesting was documented in 1977 on Lanai.
Swimmers and divers should be aware that riding sea turtles is illegal.
Fines can be as high as $100,000. On our Kauai beaches, never try to push turtles back into the water or pour water on them. Allow them a clear path and never block their access to land or sea. Keep wild turtles wild! In the ocean stay 10-15 feet away from them so they have room to surface and breathe. When snorkeling, resist the temptation to follow turtles out too far from the shore.
To report a marine mammal in trouble, call the NOAA Marine Mammal Hotline: 1-888-256-9840. If you are on Kauai, call the Division of Aquatic Resources at 808-645-0532 or 808-274-3344.
World Turtle Day is May 23, sponsored yearly since 2000 by American Tortoise Rescue, to encourage human action to help them survive and thrive.
What has been your favorite experience with our Hawaii turtles?