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This past Saturday my husband I went on a ride from the H-3 freeway which starts from the south central part of our Oahu and over the Koolau Mountains to the Windward side of Oahu which the central eastern part of our island. (The map to the left is our island of Oahu and the big stretch of green is the Koolau Mountain Range that stretches from the southeastern tip of our island all the way to the North tip of our island.)
We traveled from Kaneohe on the Windward side all the way to the North Shore and around the Koolau Mountain Range and back down to Central Oahu to our home. I took about 5 hours with stops to take pictures and a wonderful place in Laie (La eee aye) to have a thick thick malt. Yum!
The "Ancients" of the ocean, the sea turtles, have roamed the seas for 200 milliion years and even survived the Ice Age. Six of the seven species are classified endangered or on the verge of extinction. The Chinese believed that the sea turtle meant "wisdom" while the Hawaiian legend tells of a green sea turtle named Kauila (cow ih la) who watched over the children playing on the beach in Punaluu (poo na loo oo) on the Big Island of Hawaii.
By time we had reached the North Shore of Oahu we stopped at "Turtle Beach", otherwise known as Laniakea Beach. Plenty of surfing, sunning, shelling, fishing, swimming and the "Honu" (ho new) or Hawaiian Sea Turtles. Over the years these sea turtles picked this particular north end of the beach to sleep and sun themselves.
There is a volunteer group called the "HONU PROJECT" that protects the endangered Honu on this and other beaches. 90% have a virus known as Fibropapillomatosis that cause fibroid tumors in the neck, throat, eyes, mouth and eventually eating away from the inside of the green sea turtle.
- They have signs that warn that they are endangered species.
- They have roped off areas with signs telling people to stay behind those ropes
- They have signs stating the turtles bite
- They have brochures on the beach to explain all of this
Yet, there were many people going behind the pink roped off area. The volunteers literally had to babysit the sunning sea turtles and keep telling and motioning people to step back. And then...... I gasped and mumbled loud enough for everyone to turn their heads. A man carrying his toddler went into the ocean not one foot from a swimming honu with his wife standing right next to him! Gasp again! He leans over with the toddler to look at the turtle who just then pops it head above water! I am appalled at the blatant disregard they had for their own safety, their little baby and disregarding the signs and our laws for the Honu.
Please be aware that there are laws that are enforced to protect our Honu:
- No Harassing
- No Harming
- No Killing
- No keeping sea turtles in captivity without a permit (educational or research)
- Divers are NOT to ride turtles. It is ILLEGAL because it puts the animals under stress
Recently on the news they told a story of a man who was visiting from Alaska that had harassed the Hawaiian Monk Seal and video taped the whole harassment and then posted it on My Space. He was caught and arrested and of course the video is no longer up there. Fines of up to $100,000 are imposed and may include prison time as well.
**If you are relocating to Hawaii or even just visiting please respect our land. Our environment. Our wildlife. Our Sea Life.
Waimea Beach, North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii
All pictures the property of Celeste "Sally" Cheeseman©