Honu is the Hawaiian word for turtle and while visiting here on Oahu, you will most likely encounter a turtle or two. Green Sea Turtles (and also Hawksbill Sea Turtles) can be frequently observed in the waters around our islands or basking in the sun on their favorite beaches. Once hunted to the brink of extinction, these shy and gentle giants live and thrive in the clean waters of Hawaii where they are now protected by the Endangered Species Act and the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
This means there are rules in place which must be understood and respected. While turtles may appear friendly or curious, it is important to keep your distance and not to try to feed or “pet” them. If you see a Honu, enjoying the warm sun and sand of the beach, it is perfectly fine to take their picture, as long as you allow a buffer zone of at least 6-8 feet.
At certain times of the year turtles will also come ashore to lay their eggs in the sand, or “nest”. If you are lucky enough to be able to observe this occurrence, be aware that the lawful distance to keep from a nesting turtle is at least 30 feet. The public is also advised not to touch, pick up, “assist”, or harm the turtle hatchlings, as they must crawl out of their shells and down to the ocean on their own. This is nature’s way of regulating their internal navigational compass, which is necessary for their survival!
The Hawaiian Sea Turtles are innocent and beautiful animals, and they are very photogenic too! So have those cameras ready and when you spot a turtle, click away! Check out Oahu Photography Tours to take a tour with a pro and capture stunning images of these majestic creatures!