As the sea turtle nesting season starts to heat up along many US shorelines, more on-land and underwater visitors become fascinated with these rare, threatened and even endangered sea creatures. After all, this is a typically docile but hardy creature that starts swimming as soon as they are born to reach deeper sea regions where they can thrive.
So have you always wanted to dive alongside one of these massive but characteristically calm sea creatures? If so, then head to these top diving sites where sea turtles rule the waters.
Sea turtles flock to the desolate beaches of the Hawaiian Islands, and can be easily spotted both under the water and often along the more secluded shorelines. The islands are renowned as a turtle haven because of this phenomenon, as well as the state’s massive efforts to protect the turtles.
Divers can expect to see plenty of relaxed sea turtles at top dive sites like Makaha Beach off Oahu. You don’t want to miss a single moment when diving with these beautiful creatures, so be sure your gear is ready for the adventure! Check out our gear here.
More than 30,000 sea turtles have been released into the surrounding ocean waters from the Grand Cayman turtle farm since the early 1980s. This annual release has created a slew of smaller but bolder sea turtles. A great surprise is the local turtles tend to be much quicker, and much more curious than you typically expect.
South Pacific lagoons are a favorite retreat for sea turtles, with warm waters that heat their blood and much more protection than open ocean waters. For a good chance of spotting them, head to the popular wintertime breeding grounds, like Aitutaki Lagoon, where the turtles congregate like clockwork from November through February.
Already famed as one of the best diving destinations in the world, the island of Sipadan adds a feather in its cap for its wealth of sea turtle activity and its status as a protected nesting site.
Depending on the time of year, expect to see 20-30 turtles on a single dive trip. This location is also considered one of the most romantic dive spots! Check out our post here.
Much smaller than some of the hotter diving destinations to the north, like Playa del Carmen, the name of this village means “place of the turtles,” and it indeed lives up to its name. Divers can expect to see the rare and beautiful green sea turtles and loggerhead turtles, which can reach massive sizes and be an intimidating safe encounter.
There are several turtle hatcheries in this region, which translate to a healthy turtle population, as well as plenty of sites where colorful reefs and turtle sightings go hand in hand. Schedule a trip to Meno Wall, Good Heart and Halik reefs, or the aptly named Turtle Point where you’ll find turtles of all sizes that are nicely calm, and will typically barely acknowledge your existence.
There are some national and statewide organizations out there that help protect, rehabilitate and promote sea turtles. Check out your local beach towns to find a close-to-home organization, or review a national organization like The Sea Turtle Conservancy, and make a donation or volunteer to ensure we can admire these stunning sea creatures for years to come.
Need more information on traveling to these sites ideas? Check out our travel section. If you live in the Dallas area, swing by our shop in Carrollton, and we’ll be happy to chat with you about scuba and turtles!