holoholo photo

Ho’okipa Honus

Having no big plans on the last day of my ten-day vacation, Emily and I drove down the hill and stopped just short of the water at Hoʻokipa beach park. We had high hopes of catching a few endangered Hawaiian green sea turtles (also known as honu) napping on the beach.

Turtles on the beach have become an everyday occurrence at Hoʻokipa and fortunately there are volunteers that set up shop near the turtles to help educate people about proper etiquette around an endangered species.

Basic rules around turtles, whether they are in or out of the water, are: never harass, touch, attempt to feed the turtles, and stay at least twenty feet away from the turtles, including any pets you might bring to the beach. Harassing a honu is illegal and can carry up to a $100,000 fine and/or jail time if convicted.

Here are some facts about the Hawaiian green sea turtles before I let you look at some pictures from this morning.

  • Sea turtles have been around for more than 150 million years.
  • Honu nest every 2-7 years and lay between 1-5 clutches per nesting season, averaging 180 eggs per clutch.
  • The eggs are the size of a ping pong ball and take about 60 days to incubate.
  • It is estimated that 1 out of every 5,000 hatchlings will make it to adulthood.
  • The size of a sea turtle is dependent upon its diet and health, not age.
  • Honu can weight up to 700 pounds and grow up to 5 feet long.
  • Average life span for a sea turtle is roughly 80 years.
  • Their head is non-retractible.
  • Adult honu are herbivores, while juvenile honu will also eat jellyfish, crabs, and sponges.