From the Field

Video: A Sea Turtle’s View of the Reef

Have you ever wondered what it looks like from a sea turtle’s point of view?

As part of a tagging project in the Arnavon Islands, Nature Conservancy scientists temporarily attached a camera to the back of a juvenile green turtle. The resulting footage shows the turtle swimming past parrotfish and moray eels, and an incredible encounter with a large male hawksbill turtle. The Nature Conservancy’s Melanesia program director and scientist Richard Hamilton thinks that the male hawksbill likely swam over to evaluate the green as a potential mate.

For more on green turtles in the Arnavons, read our story about how a “turtle rodeo” catches green turtles like this one as part of a long-term tagging program.

Justine E. Hausheer

Justine E. Hausheer is an award-winning science writer for The Nature Conservancy, covering the innovative research conducted by the Conservancy’s scientists in the Asia Pacific region. She has a degree from Princeton University and a master's in Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting from New York University. Justine's favorite stories take her into pristine forests, desolate deserts, or far-flung islands to report on field research as it's happening. When not writing, you can find her traipsing after birds, attempting to fish, and exploring the wild places around her home in Brisbane, Australia. More from Justine

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  1. Thank you for the opportunity to see a reef from the turtle’s perspective – beautiful video!

  2. I love your Cool Green Science blog-so informative & fascinating! Thanks from a loyal reader & supporter..

  3. I rescued baby turtles on Lady Elliot Island in the Great Barrier Reef. A very spiritual experience! And one I will never forget.

  4. That was so cool, reminded me of all my diving trips when I was younger.

  5. I, like so many there, enjoy wildlife videos. I do have to wonder though, how these impact the animals themselves. How stressful it is, how intrusive? How detrimental in the long run?

    I’m certain there have been advancements but how much is simple curiosity? I am beginning to lean in the direction of “leave them be.” Let them be alone to live their lives, find their food and die in peace.

    If we cannot fine a balance between their complete freedom and simple lives then let’s leave them alone.

    One voice for the voiceless

  6. Great footage – GoPro SeaPro! Sending this to my daughter who is a diver and a terrific swimmer.

  7. I am going to Isla Mujeres for the first time, and hear they have a sea turtle conservancy. Are you aware of this? Do you support it?

    1. Hi Kimberly, Thank you for the question! The “turtle sanctuary” on Isla Mujeres is not affiliated with The Nature Conservancy.

  8. Hi there

    This is not so much a comment as a request.

    I am building some enthusiasm for creating a turtle sanctuary and awareness program based in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands where I live. I am not an expert on turtles but know them to be endangered and the laws protecting them are not being observed or enforced in this region. I believe a formal program would go a long way to creat community awareness of the long term impact of eating turtle eggs and hunting turtles.

    Turtles lay eggs at Bava Island, Nakaza island and Woi Island. Locals are continuing to eat turtles and the eggs as they have done for generations. Turtles used to lay at Suparto as recently as 15 years ago but no longer return because they were hunted and the eggs were eaten. I think most people agree what will happen if a conservation program is not created.

    If a sanctuary is created for turtles to safely lay eggs then interested marine biologists will come to the area for research. Tourists will also be attracted by the opportunity to witness turtles crawling up the beach and laying eggs. Such a sanctuary exists at the Arnovan islands, Tetepare Island and in southern Rendova Island and many tourists come to experience this unique opportunity. They sleep at local guest houses and with additional funding the local communities earn a cash income from protecting their turtle hatchery.
    I would like to duplicate this successful program at Bava, Nakaza and Woi.

    But I’m going to need help.

    I have contacted many (but not yet all) of the Chiefs, elders and community leaders about this proposal and have been met with unanimous support. The community supports the idea but doesn’t know where to start getting it off the ground. We need to attract some turtle conservation specialist(s) to come to the area and survey the situation and advise us on how to move forward.

    I am willing to provide all boat transport from Gizo and around the islands and can arrange accommodation for interested parties to come and visit the area. I can arrange meetings with all the representatives of the local communities for discussing an awareness program. I am willing to assist in any way I can.

    I ask you for your support in helping me to contact anyone who would be willing to help with making this sanctuary a reality.

    Kind regards

    Andrew Trahair
    Rochelle – Tepetale, Vella Lavella Island, Solomons
    Tel: 7994625