One of my favorite things about diving in the Caribbean is the incredible variety of sea life. On most dives I can spot everything from Reef sharks and Eagle rays to Moray eels and lobster, but every day I always find myself swimming with the Green sea turtle and it's just as majestic every time!
Green sea turtles are commonly found where turtle grass grows, and lucky for us that is a 10 minute boat ride from St. Thomas Diving Club over to Buck Island's Turtle Cove. On the daily, hundreds of tourist will come to snorkel over the turtles and watch them feeding before getting up close and personal while they swim up to the surface for air. What's even better than that? Looking at them in the eye as you're scuba diving! The turtles are used to people, but they are a protected species so it is VERY important to remember NEVER TOUCH the green sea turtles, yet that also goes for ALL marine life!
Photo left: Cassandra
Photo right: Jimi
Unique characteristics about the Green Sea Turtles:
Did you know the green sea turtles are not named for the color of their shell but for their greenish tint of skin? Unlike other turtles, the Green sea turtle can not retract its head into its shell.
Green sea turtles use their lungs to store oxygen and help control their buoyancy, during the day the turtles will come up to the surface at about 15 minute intervals, but at night they can bring their heart rate down allowing them to hold their breathe for almost 5 hours at a time.
They have 4 lung chambers, so you will usually find them coming up to the surface 4 times to take a breath that fills each chamber. As the turtles move their flippers, it pumps the oxygen into the lungs for storage.
The Green sea turtles have a special organ next to their eyes called salt glands which constantly pumps the salt out of their bodies.
Again, the Green Sea Turtles are a protected species and it is VERY important to NEVER TOUCH THEM!