12 Frequently Asked Questions about Snorkeling with Turtles in Oahu

Sports & Recreations

  • Author Alex Severson
  • Published January 27, 2023
  • Word count 1,104

If you have ever dreamed of swimming alongside sea turtles, then snorkeling with turtles is a must-do activity. Snorkeling around these graceful sea creatures has become an increasingly popular way to explore the oceans and reefs while observing aquatic life up close. However, many questions may come up when planning to snorkel with turtles.

Why has snorkeling with sea turtles become so popular?

One of the most loveable marine animals is the sea turtle but unfortunately, they are considered endangered. Yet for over 100 million years, they have been essential to preserving the health of the oceans, sea grass, and coral reef ecosystems.

It is a privileged and magical experience to snorkel with sea turtles in their natural habitat, from the South Pacific to the Galapagos Islands. But there are many other reasons why people also enjoy snorkeling with sea turtles:

  • Sea turtles are peaceful and gentle. They don’t attack and bite, which makes it a safe and exhilarating encounter for children of all ages.

  • You don’t need to go deep sea diving miles from the coast to find them. Sea turtles can be observed along coral reefs and shallow waters.

  • It's a unique and rare opportunity to see sea turtles, learn more about them, and help prevent their decline and extinction.

Frequently asked questions about snorkeling with turtles

Planning a snorkeling trip to see sea turtles is exciting, so finding the best places that give you the greatest chance of interacting with these graceful marine reptiles is important. Additionally, it is useful to know the snorkeling rules for contact and conduct as this ensures a safe and happy time for you, your family, other guests, and of course, the turtles.

  1. Where is the best place to go snorkeling with turtles in Oahu?

The best place to snorkel with turtles in Oahu is Laniakea Beach, which lies on Oahu's North Shore. This area is appropriately known as Turtle Beach. This is one of the most well-liked locations in Hawaii to view turtles up close in the wild, particularly around dusk. Turtles are most frequently seen swimming nearby in the bay or relaxing in the sand. But if you prefer a less crowded place for snorkeling with turtles, you can consider Maunalua Bay, which is on the east side of Diamond Head.

  1. Is snorkeling with turtles a kid-friendly activity?

Snorkeling in itself is a thrilling experience for children and when sea turtles swim nearby, it is literally breathtaking. It is very safe for young kids to be in the water with sea turtles and children can learn a lot about sea life from this unforgettable encounter.

  1. What kinds of turtles can I see in Oahu?

There is no other animal more closely linked to Oahu and the Hawaiian Islands than the sea turtle, which is intimately intertwined with the place’s history and culture. The Leatherback Turtle, Green Turtle, and Hawksbill Sea Turtle are the three sea turtle species that are native to the Hawaiian Islands.

  1. What is the best time of the day to snorkel with turtles?

The ideal season to snorkel with turtles is in summer when the water is warmer. With a trip to see the turtles, you can slow down the pace of your Hawaiian experience. Early in the morning before 10 am or late afternoon are the best times to spot them in the water.

  1. How to approach a turtle?

Maintain a reasonable, safe distance to Approach the turtle slowly from the front so they can see you but always maintain a safe distance. Avoid startling sea turtles that are resting or actively feeding and ensure interactions are non-threatening.

  1. Can you touch sea turtles?

Under the Endangered Species Act, it is illegal to touch sea turtles, and there are good reasons why. Sea turtles develop a biofilm covering on their bodies that protects them while living in the open water. A single contact destroys the film cell, exposing the sea turtles to bacterial infections and illnesses. Also, touching turtles scares them and makes them anxious.

  1. Can you feed sea turtles? If yes, with what?

Like with touching, feeding sea turtles is illegal because it causes them to depend more on people for food, which dulls their natural urge to hunt and scavenge. When their instinct for survival weakens, they become more vulnerable to predators.

  1. Can a sea turtle bite?

Sea turtles are docile and do not bite. Some turtle species may react when threatened but they do not take a snap at people simply out of curiosity or hunger. They have hard beaks and strong beaks to scrape algae off reefs, hold prey such as jellyfish, and crush crustacean shells.

  1. Can I take pictures with sea turtles?

Being respectful is the most crucial point to keep in mind when interacting with any wildlife species. Give a turtle plenty of room and don't impede on any of its natural behaviors. While you keep a 3-meter distance from the turtle, get a friend to photograph you without using an underwater flash.

  1. How long do turtles live?

Most marine turtles need between 20 and 30 years to reach maturity. The turtle species usually determines its lifespan which is usually between 50 and 80 years but there have been records of sea turtles living longer than 150 years.

  1. How fast can a turtle swim?

Sea turtles generally travel at a speed of up to 5.8 mph (9.3 km/h), however, when frightened, they have been observed to swim about 22 mph (35 km/h).

  1. How can I see turtle babies?

In Hawaii, turtle nesting season is anywhere between April to October but for some species, it can extend into December. The baby sea turtles hatch after two months and make their way from the beach to the ocean in their thousands. Survival rates are low, and many do not make it to maturity. If you see hatchlings on the beach, leave them to find the ocean on their own even if they seem to be struggling.

Is swimming with turtles worth it?

The planet’s oceans are a fascinating ecosystem and snorkeling with sea turtles is one of the best ways to explore the reefs and take in the bright and beautiful images of our underwater worlds. Seeing these endangered and beautiful creatures in their natural environment is an incredible and awe-inspiring experience for the whole family.

To make sure that everyone and the turtles are safe, adhere to the snorkeling code of conduct to protect the reef, follow the rules and regulations regarding touching, feeding, and harassing sea turtles, and always keep a safe 3-meter distance from the sea turtles. This allows for a sustainable and ethical wildlife encounter.

If you have ever dreamed of swimming alongside sea turtles, then visit https://oahuturtlesnorkeling.com

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