Where do sea turtles live? Come to the islands and visit our beloved Honu. Best sites to visit are on the Big Island’s Kona side. Likely beaches include Anaehoomalu Bay, Honaunau, Kahalu’u Beach, Kahuwai Bay, Kuki’o Beach, and Punaluu Black Sand Beach. Also, on Kauai at and around Poipu Beach Park and Brennecke’s Beach. But that’s just for starters.
On the Big Island a favorite place is Turtles Cove in front of the Hapuna Prince Hotel. You can reach it without stepping on hotel property. Go to Hapuna Beach and walk as far as you can on the hotel side. Get in the ocean and swim around the rocks into the cove. You won’t be disappointed with the number of Hawaiian Sea Turtles you find. It has some of the best Hawaii snorkeling too.
On Maui, look for turtles at Makena, Wailea and Kihei beaches. And on Oahu, try Makaha, Waikiki, and Laniakea beaches.
Every July 4, the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows has their Turtle Independence Day. This year will be their 28th year releasing Honu into the ocean. Ever since 1989, the hotel has received 3-5 month old juvenile turtles to raise from Sea Life Park on Oahu. For two to three years they will reside in the saltwater ponds of the resort before the community celebrates their release into the open ocean with a traditional Hawaiian ceremony.
Observation Guidelines: Turtles are generally not afraid of people. They are protected by law and it’s illegal to touch them. The best recommendation is to stay back about 20 feet and not chase, scare or hinder their movement.
Endangered Sea Turtles. The Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles, “Honu,” is one of the most ancient species of the world and existed prior to dinosaurs. Treat this endangered species with respect. Each weigh up to 500 pounds and have a long life span. Honu live close to the shores of our Hawaiian Islands, feed primarily on seaweed and swim up to 35 mph. Hawksbill Sea Turtles, “ea” in Hawaiian, are elusive and nearly extinct. Noted for its shiny shell, they are unfortunately still hunted illegally. There are only a few dozen believed to be in Hawaii. Leatherback Sea Turtles are the largest of all living turtles (in fact all sea reptiles). This species has no shell and instead is covered by a black rubber-like skin and oily flesh. Leatherbacks dwell in deep water away from the island shores and can weigh up to one ton.
Do you have a favorite location to view Hawaiian Sea Turtles? Please leave a comment.