Well, what a week it’s been for turtle sightings! First Jacko and Jodie’s students were filmed with a hawksbill turtle at White Rock, and then a few days later Lisa’s students got to see another hawksbill turtle at a rare deserted Twins on their second ever dive!
Bit why don’t we always see the same turtles at the same dive sites? Where do they go when they’re not busy playing with Roctopussi’s? Here on Koh Tao we release baby turtles into the sea as part of the ‘Save Koh Tao’ annual festival, but it can be years before we see them at our local dive sites, and here’s why…
Not much is known about the life history of hawksbills. Their life history can be divided into three phases, namely the pelagic phase, from hatching to about 20 cm, the benthic phase, when the immature turtles recruit to foraging areas, and the reproductive phase, when they reach sexual maturity. The pelagic phase possibly lasts 1 to 4 years, which explains why we don’t see baby turtles around Koh Tao, and when they reach maturity they tend to return to their birthplace.
So next time you’re wondering where your kids have got to, spare a thought for turtles!