SCUBA News 265
(ISSN 1476-8011)

SCUBA News (ISSN 1476-8011)
Issue 265 - August 2022

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What's New at SCUBA Travel?

Anemone and damsel fish

Terrific diving in Tanzania's Spice Islands

From whale sharks to amazing reefs.

Manta ray and grey reef sharks by Daniel French

Magnificent Maldives

The south atolls of the Maldives still have world class diving - see for yourself with our video by Daniel French

Dugong by Angieseamisstress

Red Sea's Marsa Alam

Gateway to Elphinstone and the dugongs of Abu Dabab

End of the World Resort, Bay Islands

End of the World Resort, Guanaja
No cruise ships, crowded dive boats, overcrowded beaches, wave runners, traffic or other unappealing stresses that are common in more often visited scuba destinations. Find out more...

Hawksbill turtle is creature of the month

Critically endangered, the hawksbill turtle lives throughout the world's tropical seas. In the last 100 years their numbers have declined by 80%. However, where countries protect them, and enforce the protection, populations recover.

Hawksbill turtle in Indonesia
Photo: Volker Korth

When they leave their beach nest, most hawksbill hatchlings swim to the open sea. They stay here for up to 5 years, after which they migrate to their coral reef homes. Here you see them resting on ledges before swimming to the surface to breath.

Hawksbill turtles don't reach sexual maturity until between 14 and 35 years old. Females then return to the beach where they were born, to lay their eggs.

Hawksbill turtle
Photo: Rich Carey/Bigstock

The temperature of the nest determines whether the baby turtles will be male or female. Higher temperatures mean more females. Turtles have evolved to nest when temperatures favour equal numbers of male and female hatchlings, but if this is already the coldest time on their beach, then birth ratios will shift to females if temperatures rise.

Hawksbill turtle in the Maldives
Photo: Tim Nicholsons

A female turtle lays eggs only every 2 to 5 years. In her breeding year though, she lays several clutches. Males may visit several rookeries, so a male-female imbalance might not be critical for the turtles.

Hawksbill turtles are endangered because of our actions like harvesting tortoiseshell, loss of habitat, light pollution and by-catch. As they grow slowly and take years to mature, populations have difficulty recovering.

Turtle hatchling
Photo: Salty View/Shutterstock

They are called Hawksbill Turtles because of their pointed beak which they use to scrape the sponges they love to eat from the reef.

Hawksbill turtles are lovely to see underwater and can make a dive.

The largest turtle populations live in northwest Australia, the Solomon Islands and Indonesia. In the Atlantic, Mexico, Cuba and Barbados are Hawksbill turtle hotspots.

Phylum: Chordata > Class: Reptilia > Order: Testudines > Family: Cheloniidae > Genus: Eretmochelys > Species: Eretmochelys imbricata


J Gane, CT Downs, I Olivier & M Brown (2020) Nesting ecology and hatching success of the hawksbill turtle (2004-2014) on Cousine Island, Seychelles, African Journal of Marine Science, 42:1, 53-65, DOI: 10.2989/1814232X.2020.1727952
Boletin de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras - INVEMAR Print version ISSN 0122-9761
Bol. Invest. Mar. Cost. vol.49 supl.1 Santa Marta Dec. 2020 Epub Sep 03, 2021
Conservation of Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) in Indonesia, Lessons Learned and Future Challenges. Adela Hemelikova et al. 21 April 2021
Nakamura, M.F. et al. Lunar phases and hawksbill sea turtle nesting. J Ethol 37, 307-316 (2019).
Wang et al, Developing ultraviolet illumination of gillnets as a method to reduce sea turtle bycatch. Biol. Lett. 23 October 2013 vol. 9 no. 5 20130383

Diving the Azores in small liveaboard group

Azores liveaboard

Dive the best of the Azores - see turtles, sharks plus massive congregations of devil rays - in groups of no more than 8.


Diving news from around the World

Whitsundays, home of an underwater sculpture park

Can Sculptures Help Coral Reefs Bounce Back?
Underwater sculptures are becoming a trend on degraded reefs. Are they helping the reef recover, or are they just a tourism draw?

Orca by Toby Matthews / Ocean Image Bank

Orca surf for survival, as well as for play
New research suggests orca surf to learn vital skills in the water.


Scientists take a deep dive into how sharks use the ocean
Twenty year study shows how sharks, rays, and skates - also known as elasmobranchs - use the ocean depths.

Dugong in Marsa Alam, Red Sea

Dugongs extinct in China
New research shows that the Dugong - also known as the sea cow - is functionally extinct in China, with no sightings recorded since 2008. Dugongs are the only totally herbivorous marine mammals and inspired tales of Mermaids

Shoal of fish

Sea life may downsize with ocean warming
Marine microbes could shrink by up to 30% in the future due to climate change, affecting bigger organisms that eat them - meaning smaller fish and less food for other marine life (and humans).

Crab in Gulf of Maine by Nirupam Nigam

Rapid warming in the Gulf of Maine reverses 900 years of cooling
Research suggests that greenhouse gas are not only likely causing surface temperature changes affecting the Gulf of Maine, but also causing changes in ocean circulation and driving out the fish.

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

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