Bunaken Dive Site “Muka Kampung”, the turtle city!
Everybody loves turtles and at here we see them all over the shop and they certainly are not of the shy sort! If you get hit on the head by something it might not be your buddy struggling with his buoyancy, it could also well be a turtle pushing you out of the way to settle on its favourite spot on the reef!
Marine Turtles have roamed our oceans for 185 million years with only one natural predator – the Tiger Shark. Sea Turtles breathe air and have lungs which require regular visits to the surface, their bodies can hold a great deal more carbon dioxide than us and other animals. Some have been observed submerged for up to six hours.
The two types of Bunaken sea turtles are the Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricate) and the Green Turtle (Cheonia mydas).
Unlike the Green Turtle, the Hawksbill has two pairs of prefrontal scales between the eyes and has two claws on each flipper. It has a beak-like mouth, hence the name, and mature females are approx. 87cm in length and weigh around 80kg. Hawksbill Turtles live on a diet of sponges.
This is why, in coastal waters, they can be found on rocky outcrops of reef and solid substrates, as they are optimal sites for sponge growth. Nesting occurs on high and low energy beaches.
Due to their smaller body size they can often cover fringing reefs where other species cannot. Their nesting season is longer than most, lasting up to six months as opposed to two months.
Green Turtles are found throughout the oceans of the world. To identified and differentiated the Green Turtle, look for a set of two scales between the eyes. Green Turtles will grow up to approximately 1m in length and can weight up to 180kg. This turtle gets its name from the algae and lime it feeds on, which turns its fat tissue green. Single mating claw of a male visible on the trailing edge of fore flipper. Single mating claw of a male visible on the trailing edge of fore flipper.
Green Turtle adults are herbivores, but juveniles feed on plankton, jelly fish and fish eggs. Their carapace (top shell) is smooth and green & brown in colour, whilst the plastron (belly shell) is a pale yellow tan colour.