For the third day in a row, I, along with a couple good friends today, visited Mala in search
of hawksbill turtles. On an area of the reef we have seen them before, I was not disappointed
to find one of the timid youngsters today. It was feeding on the reef but by the time I saw it,
it left the reef and circled me at a distance.
Cropped in above and below for what details for ID there might be available from this distance.
Shortly after the hawksbill left, a green female with a very large tumor came under us.
We came across another green gal who was ready to come up:
We continued on towards the end of our swim and I went into an area of the reef where
Cheryl had found a really cute small hawksbill two days ago. It wasn't there yesterday
and I had doubts it would be today. As I got near the spot, I spied it on the surface getting
some air. It saw me and dove and circled me at a distance.
It didn't go far from the coral seen in the pic above and below with the tangs over it.
I later was able to understand why.
I just hung still and the turtle seemed to accept my presence and even came up and gave
me a closer look.
Perhaps satisfied that I was no threat, it went down to that coral and it looked like it was
taking some bites on the tips of the branches.
I could make out something hanging out of its mouth but no idea what it was.
I decided to get in close and hope I didn't upset the turtle but it seemed fine with me and
intent on its mission. Once I got in close, I could see that the coral was laced with some
type of transparent roe that had connecting strings and this was what the turtle was feeding on.
My proximity was of no consequence.
Close crop of the above image:
The turtle would get a bite of the eggs and pull back lifting more on the string out of the
coral and then work its way down the string a bit.
The turtle was slow and deliberate in its feeding.
String of roe coming out of its mouth:
I watched it feed for a few minutes and then it was time for another breath.
By this time the turtle seemed to have no concern with my presence and even while
breathing it stayed close by. Admittedly, I was hovering over its feast. :)
It came in right next to me and then turned and went for another breath. My friends had
headed in to shore a while ago and I figured it was time for me to join them.
I have taken to calling this turtle Squiggles due to an obvious mark on its head. I hope to
see it many more times in the coming years.