On the day of James and Emily’s last training dives in the Tech 45 course, we came across two sea turtles! Captain Eddy spotted them, as usual. They were floating on the surface, and they were mating! Costa Rica is the home to four of the seven sea turtle species in the world; the Leatherback, Green, Hawksbill, and Olive Ridley turtles are all found in this special region.
These turtles were large, with smooth shells; and although they were floundering together awkwardly at the surface, their paddle shaped flippers identified them as strong swimmers and as Green Turtles. Green turtles are not named for the color of their shell, but rather by the color of their green skin. They breed in shallow waters and often return to lay eggs on the same beach where they were born. Little turtles can be seen crossing the beaches near Quepos and Manuel Antonio at night on the full moon.
Mature turtles spend most of their time in shallow seas, returning to beaches to breed. They spend their time in the seagrass beds as herbivores, grazing in the underwater meadows. Juveniles will spend the first five years of life in the open ocean, riding currents along convergence zones and eating pelagic organisms such as jellyfish. Turtles are almost always submerged, Green turtles can hold their breath for several hours when they sleep. We can see turtles off the Orca 4, our dive boat, occasionally as they come to the surface to breathe.
Seven of the eight species of sea turtle are endangered, and we hope that we can raise awareness for these beautiful creatures!