The Hawksbill I am calling UK1 was again at the reef feeding today (6-22-09). I watched her for a while crusing the reef and inspecting in the coral.
She found a spot that interested her and she proceeded to break away some of the coral.
I have been led to believe that there is some uncertainty as to what it is that the Hawksbill turtles eat. I have seen them get to some form of life and devour it. When I say some form of life, I have no idea what it is. It has a silver, sort of gun metal blue color to it and it has a rounded surface to it. It is attached to the coral down in the nooks and crannies. The tissue is white inside. I would liken the size and shape to small grapes up to egg size. I dove down a few times and tried to get some close up shots with the flash on using my Olympus Stylus 9000. I have indicated the food source with red arrows and marked some of the coral breaks with yellow arrows. What ever this food source is, it is well nestled within the dead coral branches and some need to be removed for the turtle to get to it.
In the future, I will try to get more and hopefully better images of this food source especially if I have the Nikon with me. The combination of the fact I am free diving and the fact that the turtle is quite intent on getting to this food makes it a bit difficult to get some shots and I have no intention of getting in the way or disrupting the feeding. Fortunately all of the Hawksbill turtles I have encountered are rather indifferent to my pressence provided I alert them to the fact that I am there and don't make any sudden moves or sneak up on them.