The archaeology of sea turtles

I love sea turtles. When I saw my first sea turtle, I was snorkeling in the Red Sea during a day off from excavation. It swam along the bottom of the sea floor, a few meters below me. I followed. Occasionally he turned to one side to check me out.

I can’t say why I like them so much. I just do, and I’ll never forget that experience. So while I was in Hawaii, I jumped on the opportunity to see the Hawaiian sea turtle, an endangered species that is protected by numerous federal and state laws, among other things. One of the prohibitions is getting too close to a turtle, because any kind of close interaction, especially touching, can be very stressful for these amazing animals.

There’s this beach on the north shore where the turtles rest or spend the night. Much to my pleasure, it was clear on this particular day that visitors had followed the rules of enjoying from a distance. As you can see in this picture, the beach had been walked on quite a bit, but there was a circle of un-walked beach surrounding the little turtle!


No footprints around this little turtle!
No footprints around this little turtle!


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