Swimming with a Hawksbill Sea Turtle on Scuba Dive at Apo Island

Hawksbill Sea Turtles at Cogon Point: Apo Island Scuba



0 Flares



Google+


0








Facebook


0








Twitter


0








Pin It Share


0






0 Flares


×

In the first week of January I visited Apo with Corey and Jason from my Peace Corps group. We did one dive with Mario, Apo’s barangay captain on Cogon Point. We saw more turtles on this dive than any other I have ever been on, and one of the shots from this trip was used for the Apo Island post card livelihood project.

  • Apo Island - Early January 2005

    Apo Island - Early January 2005
    Corey, Jason, Mario and I took the boat to Apo's Cogon Point amid high seas.

  • Apo Island - Early January 2005

    Apo Island - Early January 2005
    Under the water, everything was calm as usual. Almost immediately, Mario spotted this hawksbill sea turtle munching on some soft coral and surrounded by damselfish.

  • Apo Island - Early January 2005

    Apo Island - Early January 2005
    The turtle didn't seem bothered by the divers watching, and only intermittently looked up from his coral lunch.

  • Apo Island - Early January 2005

    Apo Island - Early January 2005
    Mario watched the turtle from the background.

  • Apo Island - Early January 2005

    Apo Island - Early January 2005
    The turtle watched me for a little while, and then returned to eating the soft coral.

  • Apo Island - Early January 2005

    Apo Island - Early January 2005

  • Apo Island - Early January 2005

    Apo Island - Early January 2005
    The turtle made a return appearance and swam by again after we had moved on.

  • Apo Island - Early January 2005

    Apo Island - Early January 2005
    It really looks like they are flying when you watch them move underwater.

  • Apo Island - Early January 2005

    Apo Island - Early January 2005
    We were really working hard to keep up, but the turtle didn't seem to break a sweat.

  • Apo Island - Early January 2005

    Apo Island - Early January 2005
    The turtle swam with us for a minute or so, maybe it was curious to see if we could keep up.

  • Apo Island - Early January 2005

    Apo Island - Early January 2005

  • Apo Island - Early January 2005

    Apo Island - Early January 2005
    The little scavenger fish that was swimming with the turtle decided to check Corey out to see if she had any coral lunch leftovers.

  • Apo Island - Early January 2005

    Apo Island - Early January 2005
    Right on cue, the large school of jacks at Cogon point appeared out of the blue.

  • Apo Island - Early January 2005

    Apo Island - Early January 2005
    They can usually be found schooling in the strong currents of Cogon Point.

  • Apo Island - Early January 2005

    Apo Island - Early January 2005
    Sometimes they swim in close to investigate divers.

  • Apo Island - Early January 2005

    Apo Island - Early January 2005
    This group lined up like living links of chain mail.

  • Apo Island - Early January 2005

    Apo Island - Early January 2005
    Damselfish like to swarm around branching corals.

  • Apo Island - Early January 2005

    Apo Island - Early January 2005
    Here's a shot of Jason, suspended in the strong current of Cogon Point.

  • Apo Island - Early January 2005

    Apo Island - Early January 2005
    Before we finished the dive, this turtle appeared.

  • Apo Island - Early January 2005

    Apo Island - Early January 2005
    Like the one that we spotted at the beginning of the dive, this fellow didn't seem to mind people either.

  • Apo Island - Early January 2005

    Apo Island - Early January 2005
    This dive had the most turtle sightings of any I have been on before.

  • Apo Island - Early January 2005

    Apo Island - Early January 2005
    And eventually the turtle was off in search of more food around Apo's marine sanctuary. Mario the barangay captain has launched a turtle conservation program on Apo that pays a reward to anyone who finds a turtle nest and protects it until the eggs hatch. In the past the nests were often dug up and the eggs were eaten. I expect turtle sightings will become much more common on Apo if this program works.

  • Apo Island - Early January 2005

    Apo Island - Early January 2005
    Just before I swam to the surface I spotted this sea snake.