Did you know that the Gili Islands in Lombok is known as the turtle capital of the world? The resident green sea turtle (Chelonia Mydas) population is one of the highlights of diving around the Gili Islands and you’ll find large numbers of them on the surrounding shallow reefs. Its not uncommon to see more than 10 turtles on a dive and we often have very close encounters with them.
There is also a turtle sanctuary on the Gili’s that you can visit where juveniles are raised in protective tanks until they are old enough to be released – for this reason we are fortunate to see a mix of healthy juveniles as well as mature adults.
Turtles are also abundant in South Lombok, and if you are preparing to dive lombok with us then we thought you might want to know more about these graceful creatures.
Green Sea Turtle’s
A green sea turtle can live up to 80 years in the wild and once they have reached maturity they have few natural predators in the oceans.
They do not however generally live in the open ocean. Although this species is capable of migrating huge distances from feeding grounds to it’s nesting beach they prefer coastline habitats and are most commonly founds around small islands (such as the Gili Islands), bays and protected shores.
The green sea turtle is much bigger than the hawksbill turtle which is the other turtle species we commonly spot when we are diving around the Gili Islands and Lombok. Green sea turtles can weigh up to 300kg (average 150kg) and their carapaces (shells) can be up to 1.5 meters in length.
Green sea turtles are herbivores as mature adults and feed on a mix of sea grass and algae but juveniles are omnivores and will consume jellyfish, sponges and small mollusks.
The back is the key
Did you know that the green sea turtles name comes from the fat underneath its shell not the colour of the shell or carapace itself? They have a very distinctive pattern of scales and “scutes”. “Scutes” is the name given to the individual sections which make up the turtles carapace. The scutes on the green turtles carapace do not overlap and there is a distinctive pattern of radiating strips on the carapace.
Green turtles also have very “clean” looking carapaces, unlike hawksbill turtles which will often be covered in algae. Also unlike hawksbill turtles the green sea turtle has only one visible claw per flipper rather than two.
Green sea turtles have homing abilities and females will return to the very same beach on which they hatched to lay their eggs. They will do this every 2 – 4 years and in a nesting year they may produce up to 9 clutches of eggs. Each clutch of eggs can contain between 75 – 150 eggs! The number of eggs which successfully hatch is relatively low due to terrestrial predators such as monitor lizards which will dig up the eggs for food.
Did you know that green sea turtles are listed by the IUCN as endangered? There are several factors which have led to this: the loss or degradation of feeding and nesting habitats due to construction and other human factors, long line fishing catches, drowning in fishing nets, turtles consuming ocean pollution or becoming entangled in it and trade in green sea turtle eggs, meat, leather and shells. We are delighted though that at around the Gili Island’s, Lombok and also in the Bunaken Marine Park the green sea turtle populations are thriving!
Explore Lombok with us
So are you ready to explore with us? Whichever area you are thinking about visiting, we offer comfortable resort accommodation, experienced dive guides and friendly staff. We highly recommend that while you are in the region you visit more than one area in order to experience more of what is on offer here. We can take care of the logistics so you all you need to do is gear up and dive!
Visit the turtle capital
Gili Air is the perfect destination for those who want to kick back, relax and enjoy stunning dives from a truly tropical Indonesian island. Want to take your dive skills to the next level? In Gili Air we offer a full range of PADI Courses up to Divemaster as well as PADI IDC’s (Instructor Development Course) so you can become a PADI Pro in paradise!
Add in Bali
Are you planning to travel to and from Bali? Its only 1-2hours from Lombok by fast boat so you can discover Nusa Lembongan or Amed as well. Or why not make it a Bali, Nusa Lembongan & Lombok safari? At Two Fish Divers, we love to explore and discover new dive sites. Our passion for diving and marine life means you’ll be diving some of the best kept secret dive sites in Indonesia!
Take a course
Want to take your next level of PADI course or traveling with a companion that needs to get certified while you are here? Not a problem – just let us know your requirements and we can take care of that too!