Papua New Guinea is home to some of the clearest waters and most incredible animal life on our planet. It is ranked as one of the top ten dive destinations for thrill seekers and nature lovers alike. Difficult to get to from North America, the trip requires several flights and a bit of time. But the beauty of this undiscovered world is breath taking beyond words.
These two Hawksbill sea turtles are critically endangered. Hunted to near extinction in the last century, they are now making a slow recovery. Their numbers dwindled in the past 100 years as their shells were sought for ornamental items. They are the world's most beautiful sea turtle. They are generally shy and reclusive, preferring to swium away when they see see humans. But these two live on a remote coral head in a very unexplored part of the ocean. They were helped by a scuba dive master who assisted in a rehabilitation effort when they were young turtles, struggling with nutrition issues. They were nursed along and now they are thriving.
The scuba dive master who helped these turtles returns to their reef a few times a year to check on the turtles and to lead clients on an educational dive over this unique coral head. The turtles seem to recognize him and they greet him eagerly. He checks them, observes them, and occasionally assists them in getting at a few pieces of yellow sponge lodged in the crevices. They are also curious about his guests and they will swim close to curiously investigate the people who visit with him.
This turtle made its way over to the group, spotting them from a distance. As it approached, it made a trip to the surface for a few breaths of air. It then descended straight toward one of the thrilled divers. After looking him over, it turned and decided to nibble at the camera lens that was hanging from the front of his video equipment. The lens was red and the turtle was obviously checking to see if it was edible. Like playful sea puppies, these turtles followed the divers around the reef for most of the dive. An interaction with a beautiful and endangered animal is an experience that will never be forgotten by these scuba divers.