After three straight days of seeing no hawksbills either on the reef or the burbs, finally
today, things changed. Having seen none feeding on the reef, I swam out to the burbs and
spotted a small hawksbill resting down on the south edge of the coral and getting cleaned.
I left it and swam to the north edge and out a bit to see if Rocket Girl was in residence
but she was not. I returned to this small turtle and swam down for some shots.
As I got closer I realized this was a small turtle and not one I recognized.
It lifted off the reef and started slowly swimming.
Close crop of tail:
Although not much of a tail showing, this is as much tail I have seen on full size females
and this is a much smaller turtle. (wishful thinking it may be a young boy)
I returned to the surface with hopes and plans of getting more shots of this unrecognized
turtle but it continued a slow swim with its head twisted and clearly watching me keep pace
~30 above it. It picked up its pace and so did I and it sped up a bit more to the point I was
just keeping up with it. All of a sudden it seemed to look ahead of me and it gave a number
of strong flipper strokes and jetted further south and into the blue gloom. It took me a
moment to process this and I thought, what spooked it?!? I raised my head to the surface
and looked forward and there was an adult hawksbill dead ahead! (I am going to call this
small turtle Skeeter)
The turtle on the surface was 1D67:
I hung with her while she finished her topside air break. When she dropped back down, I
swam further south in hopes of finding the small turtle again. I had an eagle ray come check
me out during the process and we both came across the school of Hellers barracuda which I
hadn't seen in months. It seems that they now hang out further past reef's edge. I couldn't find
the small hawksbill so I decided to swim back north and see if 1D67 had settled down in her
normal spot. It took me a while to get back but sure enough, there she was. Since I was back
here, I decided to check on Rocket Girl one last time so I swam further north. No Rocket Girl.
I did however end up over a large green male sea turtle who I believe I have seen other times.
It spotted me and looked to be about to come up to the surface to join me. It did start to rise
but I flashed on the fact that its course was in line with 1D67 and it would be cool to be able to
get a shot of the two in close proximity. I started swimming south and the green male canceled
its rise and continued south as well. I swam faster so I could get over station and hope to
anticipate a dive down when the two would be close to each other. I thought I had the timing right
and down I dove. What I had no idea of was whether there would be any response or reaction by
the green when it saw 1D67. As it turned out, the green did not just swim by but homed right in on
1D67. Although it happened quickly, it appeared that the male green had a mounting intention
which 1D67 did not comply with. She ended up coming to the surface by me as the green headed
back south. Sine shots of the encounter:
In the shot above, I was almost down to them and the green had altered course for an intercept.
I don't think 1D67 was aware of the green yet.
Now she knew she had a visitor!
I hung with her on the surface and just prior to descending she lightened her load a bit and
left me her calling card:
When she returned to the bottom, we were already out past her resting spot and she headed
further west and down into a halameda field. It was deep enough that I could barely make her
out when she got close to the bottom and she continued towards deeper water still.