It’s not often you get the opportunity to come face to face (or in arms reach) with Hawaii’s green sea turtle or Honu here on the islands. The Honu (that’s the Hawaiian word for turtle) are one of the most beautiful sea creatures you’ll ever come across. If you’re out snorkeling or swimming you may get lucky and see one swimming nearby.
Honu love to bask in the sun on many of Hawaii’s beaches, but note you shouldn’t get too close as Hawaii’s green sea turtles are a protected species. Touching or harassing them in anyway is illegal. According to Hawaiian tradition, some honu were regarded as gods by the Ancient Hawaiians, and others were thought to be a family aūmakua or a family guardian, an important part of our Hawaiian culture.
During a recent visit to Laniakea Beach in Haleiwa, we came across a large group of people hovering over a small green sea turtle. Of course, many of them were trying very hard to get a selfie, but one person decided to place his baby next to the turtle for a picture. “Sir, you shouldn’t that. Turtles do bite you know,” I politely informed him.
Suddenly every person in the group looked at my children and I with confusion. So, I started to explain that Hawaii’s Honu are an endangered species, and it is illegal to touch or harass them in any way. Many of them nodded and backed away from the turtle, letting him bask quietly.
We decided that morning to stay at that beach until the honu left to make sure he would be able to bask in peace.
A photo posted by World Traveling Kid Foodies! (@pintsizegourmets) on
There are a few very simple things you need to know about our Hawaiian Sea Turtles if you plan on visiting them or come across them in the near future. Here’s an informational video we created to help raise awareness about our wonderful honus.
If you would like to volunteer, adopt, or donate to help protect Hawaii’s sea turtles please visit Malama Na Honu for more information. Oh, and please share our video!