Diver Shares Magical Moment With Curious Sea Turtle
Serena is a young diver who loves all sea life. She has dived with fish of all sorts and sharks of various kinds, but her favorite of the sea creatures is sea turtles. In this amazing encounter, Serena is approached and circled by a large and curious Green Turtle, a species found in the Caribbean. This dive took place in the waters near Akumal, Mexico, one of the few places where Green Turtles congregate in large numbers to feed on the sea grass.
Serena has dived in Belize, Cuba, Canada, and Mexico and has logged nearly 100 dives. She is no stranger to the creatures of the reef and she has learned that a slow and respectful approach will often allow close encounters with marine life, if they are comfortable.
Serena has an amazing ability to put animals at ease. As she approached this turtle, it actually turned and swam towards her curiously. It circled within inches of her face, then arced gracefully to swim around her in a brief underwater ballet. It looked right at her as they turned in unison. Serena slowly spun herself around, moving cautiously. The turtle drifted back towards the reef and Serena followed, moving slightly more slowly than the turtle. In a very relaxed glide, the turtle actually began to turn back again as it looked at the reef below.
This turtle is a mature female and she will eat all she can in the months coming. She will mate as the water becomes warmer in April to June, coming ashore almost two months later to lay her eggs. Akumal is a primary nesting ground for many species of turtles. It's name means Place of the Turtles in Mayan, the first settlement in this area.
Tourism and habitat loss has threatened all species of sea turtle throughout the world and places such as Akumal are creating sea turtle protection programs to limit impact of human presence and protect the nesting areas during critical nesting season. A small percentage of eggs will hatch and only one in one thousand hatchlings will reach maturity.
To have a curious sea turtle approach so closely is a magical experience for any diver!