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The Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle
For more than 100 million years or so, Sea Turtles have inhabited the oceans of the Earth. They are one of only a few species left that were around for the growth, domination, and extinction of the dinosaurs. They are gorgeous and graceful creatures that you should not miss the opportunity to see when you are on your Hawaii holidays.
More importantly than having been around for long, long time, the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle holds a powerful and special place in Hawaiian culture, mythology and symbolism. As an important part of the ocean’s eco-system, the sea turtle is also a great indicator on the overall health of the world’s marine environment.
A Little Bit about the Sea Turtle
Sea Turtles are large, marine reptiles that will spend 99% of their lives swimming in the oceans. Females will reach sexual maturity and reproductive age usually between 34 and 40 years of age. They always return to the beach of their birth to lay their own eggs.
A couple of centuries ago, the sea turtle numbered in the millions. Today, all seven species of sea turtle are considered endangered.
The Honu-Hawaii’s Sea Turtles
There are actually 3 species of sea turtles that are indigenous to the Hawaiian Islands:
- Green Sea Turtle
- Leatherback Sea Turtle
- Hawksbill Sea Turtle
Of the three species the Green Sea Turtle (Honu) are the most common.
Legend has it that the first Polynesian settlers to discover and inhabit the Hawaiian Islands were guided there by a Honu. This legend is actually backed up by an ancient petroglyph of a honu with a vertical line running down its back.
Honu are also revered in Hawaiian culture as an Aumakua. The Aumakua are spirit creatures that can take the shape of any animal. The Aumakua are often adopted and credited by families and individuals as bringing them good luck, guiding their way, and protecting them-much like that of a guardian angel.
The Honu were presented to Kanaloa, the god of the ocean, and it was this form that the god would take when he needed to become a physical being.
Where to See Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles on the Hawaiian Islands
Today, with protection and education, all three species of sea turtle are making a comeback in the Hawaiian Islands waters. It is truly an honor to be in the honor with one and through a little bit of investigation you can find the perfect spot on any of the islands to see a Honu on your Hawaiian holiday.