Tuesday, August 28, 2012

28/08/12 Turtle Dives

Each Wednesday, we get to abandon our coral and fish survey dives and go on turtle behavior dives in Baie Ternay. These dives involve getting dropped off at a specific spot in the bay and cruising around looking for turtles, using a U-shaped navigation course. If you are lucky enough to see a turtle, you follow it without getting too close, and take notes on all of its behaviors. Is it eating something? What did it eat? Did it go up to the surface for air? Is it swimming around the reef?   You also have to identify it as either a hawksbill or green turtle.
Hawksbill turtles have a carapace with a jagged edge and green turtles have a smooth edged carapace. A carapace is the turtle’s shell, for those of you not familiar with such scientific terms.  The green turtles usually have a cleaner shell, whereas the hawksbill is often covered with algae.  The information collected on these turtle dives is used compared the frequency of sightings to previous phases and to create a overall picture of the turtle health and abundance here in Seychelles.   After following it the turtle for a while, snapping photos and observing the graceful creature, it usually disappears into the blue, hopefully to be seen again the next week on another turtle dive.