SCUBA News 251
(ISSN 1476-8011)

SCUBA News (ISSN 1476-8011)
Issue 251 - May 2021

Welcome to SCUBA News - thank you for subscribing.

What's New at SCUBA Travel?

Pilot whale

Panama: oceans of contrast

With the Pacific ocean on one side and the Caribbean Sea on the other, Panama has plenty of diving. For the big stuff - sharks, mantas, whales, etc - hit the Pacific. For gentler diving dip into the Caribbean.

Silvertip shark

What you need to know about diving Mauritius

Wrecks, caves, rays and sharks - but which parts of the Mauritius have the best dive sites?

Raja Ampat

The 5 Best Biodiverse Destinations for Divers

Pick of the top biodiverse dive destinations in the coral triangle

Bahamas Aggressor...

Conservation Adventure with the Sea of Change Foundation

Shark diving in the Bahamas

Sharks, Coral & Conservation week in the Exuma Cays: measure sharks underwater with lasers.


Creature of the Month: Loggerhead Turtle, Caretta caretta

Loggerheads are the most common turtle in the Mediterranean, but you also find them worldwide. They are named for their large heads AND are in fact one of the largest turtles - second only to the soft-shelled leatherback. Sadly they are endangered or threatened throughout their range. They have heart-shaped shells.

Loggerhead turtle
Photo credit: Matt Kieffer, (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Plastic Meals

When babies, Loggerheads are omnivores. As they age though, they stop eating seaweed and stick to animals like crabs, whelks and jellyfish. Their liking for jellyfish is now causing them problems, as to a turtle a plastic bag looks a lot like a jellyfish, and can even smell like one too. The smell can make the turtles seek out the plastic and they eat every sixth item of plastic that they encounter. This can leave them feeling full so they die of starvation. There is even a 22% chance of dying when eating just one item plastic.

Loggerhead turtle Photo credit: Brian Gratwicke (CC by 2.0)

More Plastic Problems

It's not just eating plastic which is a problem for the turtles. The accumulation of plastic debris on nesting beaches leads to baby turtles getting entangled so they can't reach the sea. Turtles also get caught up in abandoned fishing nets.

Nests and Babies

Like all turtles, adult females lay their eggs on beaches - usually on the same stretch of coastline at which they themselves were born. Some females lay as many as six clutches ranging over six miles during the breeding season. During their lifetime, a single female loggerhead will produce around 4,200 eggs and could scatter them at 40 different sites to increase the chance that some of their offspring will survive.

When the babies hatch, they scramble off the beach towards the sea. Hatchlings and juveniles spend the first 7 to 15 years of their lives in the open ocean. Then they migrate to nearshore coastal areas where they will forage and continue to grow for several more years. Adult female loggerhead turtles, at age 20 (USA) to 35 (Australia) years, migrate hundreds or thousands of kilometres from there to their nesting beaches. They find their way back to nesting beaches by looking for unique magnetic signatures along the coast. Turtles likely go to great lengths to find the places where they began life because successful nesting requires a combination of environmental features that are rare: the right temperature, few predators and an easily accessible steeply sloping beach.

Baby Loggerhead turtle heading for the sea

Protecting the Turtles

We all love to see a turtle on a dive. Luckily many more efforts are now being made around the world to protect them. We can all help be reducing our plastic use and taking part in beach and sea litter picking. But we need governments to do their bit as well.

Further Reading

Where do baby loggerhead turtles go in their lost years?
Loggerhead turtles lay eggs in several locations to help hatchlings survive
Loggerhead turtles home in on nests magnetically
Sea turtles feeding habits influence reaction to marine debris
Why plastic is a deadly attraction for sea turtles
A quantitative analysis linking sea turtle mortality and plastic debris ingestion

Diving News From Around the World

Our round up of the best underwater news stories of the past month. For breaking news see our Twitter page or RSS feed

Darwins Arch before it collapsed

Galapagos Darwin's Arch collapses
Darwin's Arch, a rock formation south-east of Darwin Island and popular dive site, has collapsed due to natural erosion.

Bonnethead shark

Sharks use Earth's magnetic fields to guide them like a map
A shark can swim 20,000 kilometers round trip in a three-dimensional ocean and get back to the same site

Restoring coral reefs

SHEBA unveils world's largest coral restoration program
Cat food brand SHEBA has begun work on the world's largest coral restoration program, which aims to restore more than 185,000 square meters of coral reefs around the world by 2029.


Orcas stripping long-line fishers of catch in the Southern Ocean
Once an occasional nuisance, the largest member of the dolphin family is now consistently finding, following, and feasting on fish brought in by long-line fishing vessels.

Scarred Whale

Suffering from entanglements is the norm for large whales
Over half of some species of large whales have been entangled at one point in their lives.

Polluted coast

Tiny self-propelling submarines could help clean up toxic waste
Tiny tubes about 10 micrometres long can propel themselves using only sunlight and can be steered by magnetic fields. These microrobots could be useful for cleaning up toxic waste.

Oceanic whitetip shark

Vital Step to Protect Oceanic Whitetip Sharks
Critically endangered oceanic whitetip sharks would benefit from gear restrictions for longline fisheries in the Pacific.

Sea squirts

Sea Squirts help study microplastics in the ocean
Scientists use marine sea squirts to detect, count and characterise nanoplastics.

SCUBA News is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. This means we are happy for you to reuse our material for both commercial and non-commercial use as long as you: credit the name of the author, link back to the SCUBA Travel website and say if you have made any changes. Some of the photos though, might be copyright the photographer. If in doubt please get in touch.

Photo credits: Tim Nicholson, Jill Studholme, Kristin Riser, Jianye Sui

Previous editions of SCUBA News are archived at

Visit [UNSUBSCRIBE] and add or remove your e-mail address. To change whether your receive the newsletter in text or HTML (with pictures) format visit [PREFERENCES]

Should you wish to advertise in SCUBA News, please see the special offers at
Other advertising opportunities are at

Please send your letters or press releases to:
Jill Studholme
The Cliff
Upper Mayfield

SCUBA Travel Ltd, 5 Loxford Court, Hulme, Manchester, M15 6AF, UK

Subscribe To SCUBA News

Our newsletter, SCUBA News (ISSN 1476-8011), is absolutely free. It is a monthly publication, delivered by e-mail. To receive your copy fill in your details below. We will never pass your e-mail address to any third parties, or send you unsolicited e-mail.

You will receive an e-mail confirming your subscription. If you don't receive this you may have entered your e-mail address incorrectly - revisit this page and re-subscribe.

Write to SCUBA News

If you would like to write to SCUBA News, please fill in the form below. You can as well post on our Facebook page and