Sunday, September 1, 2013

Ana'ole - Green Sea Turtle #4: A Turtle Tale

Bittersweet and melancholy were the two words that I though were going to color my mood this past Thursday as I attended the release of six juvenile green sea turtles into the clear blue-green. As you may remember last year I entered a contest sponsored by the Maui Ocean Center (MOC) to name the baby honu (turtle). My name, for turtle number 4, Ana'ole, was chosen and ever since, I have had a special connection with the flippered-and-hard-shelled hatchling.

Green sea turtles can live in excess of one-hundred-years old, so Ana'ole, pictured below, is no more than a mere infant: 46 pounds and about 18 inches long, from top to tip of the shell. Microchips imbedded in the back flippers were scanned and recorded, measurements taken, identifying markings retouched and Dremelled into the shell all in preparation for the  return home to the sea from whence her ancestors came.

The tail measurement seems an odd piece of data to record but quite vital (I discovered) when I asked of Ana'ole, "Male or female?"

They didn't know. The sex of the turtles is not apparent until they are about twenty to twenty-five years of age, and is determined by the length of the tail: females having shorter tails and males longer ones.

After a chanted blessing in Hawaiian to sanction the event, each honu was taken down one of two lanes leading to the water and set free.

I watched Ana'ole disappear quickly as if becoming one with the ocean to begin a new life in the waters surrounding the Hawaiian Islands. Aloha, Ana'ole. A hui hou kakou (Aloha, Ana'ole. Until we meet again).


  1. Love this. Love the photos. Seems like such a happy event.

  2. Thanks, Nanette! It truly was a happy event... it truly was...