When Monk Seal meets Green Turtle
Ever wished to see a once-in-a-lifetime encounter underwater which you can remember and share until you depart from this Earth?
This is a few years back on Maui - to be exact on Olowalu Beach just a few miles South of touristy Lahaina on the West Coast when a local dive buddy Robyn and I prepared for a casual shore dive from Olowalu Beach. We hoped to see Green Sea Turtle and Seahorses, maybe if luck strikes us rich a Monk Seal too.
The reef runs very shallow close to the beach's edge, so we had to be very careful to select our entry point. Swimming just below the surface we found the channel that lead us away from the shallows into deeper, sandy topography. The vis was a bit limited but enough to see 'stuff'.
In roughly 20' of water we saw something mid water that caught our attention. It's a Monk Seal AND a Green Sea Turtle interacting with each other in a what looks like playful encounter. We kept our distance and followed the 'dance' of the two marine animals for a while. The Monk Seal obviously 'hugged' and 'harassed' the poor turtle which was massive in size, so no feeding seemed to go on.
Recently I published some of those images on my Instagram account and received over 430'000 Likes and 2800 Followers.
The turtle didn't mind the seal too much, swam along and occasionally surfaced to catch a breath. The seal monitored the turtle closely and also seemed to hug it frequently. Once we got closer we saw that the turtle had some fine fish line entangled in its beak and around the front flippers. It couldn't move its head sideways because of that. That may have attracted the attention of the seal.
The whole show lasted for maybe 20 minutes then the seal lost interest and moved on. The turtle tho dove below a large coral head and rested there for a while. We could sneak up on the turtle from above and cut all fish lines left and right from its head. At last it was free from that.