Changing Planet

New Caledonia Expedition: Turtle Lovin’

By Manu San Félix

Pristine Seas diver Jose Arribas in New Caledonia. Photo by Manu San Félix.
Pristine Seas diver Jose Arribas in New Caledonia. (Photo by Manu San Félix)

Today we had a difficult day of diving, navigating far away from our ship with dive boats in rough seas. In spite of the bad conditions we were able to complete three dives in beautiful reefs and coral gardens with groupers, sharks and more. Afterwards, we went back to our boat, which was anchored near a tiny sandy island inside the lagoon of the reef, an awesome place.

We decided that we couldn’t finish the day without visiting the lagoon. The sunset light, the crystal turquoise water, the coral patches; it was too much to pass up, and this is probably the only time in our lives that we will be here.

Photo Gallery: Sea Turtles

As we approached we saw activity on the surface. Mating turtles. From a distance, we saw the front flippers of the female followed by three or four males fighting over her.

Joe Lepore Snorkels in a Lagoon in New Caledonia Near Mating Turtles. Photo by Manu San Félix.
Joe Lepore Snorkels in a Lagoon in New Caledonia Near Mating Turtles. (Photo by Manu San Félix)

As fast we could get on our dive suits, fins, masks, snorkels and cameras we went smoothly into the water. The lagoon with the coral and the light from the sunset looked like magic; the perfect light!

Video: Baby Seal Rides a Turtle

We saw a couple of the mating turtles on the white sandy bottom. No movement, no breathing, no passion. Only silence and peace. A calm ending to a busy day.

Turtles Mate in a Lagoon in New Caledonia. (Photo by Manu San Félix)

Click here to view all New Caledonia expedition blog posts.

This expedition is led by National Geographic in collaboration with the Institute de Recherche pour le Development (IRD) of New Caledonia and the Waitt Institute.

Thanks to Pristine Seas sponsors Blancpain and Davidoff Cool Water.

Marine ecologist Dr. Enric Sala is a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence who combines science, exploration and media to help restore marine life. Sala’s scientific publications are used for conservation efforts such as the creation of marine protected areas. 2005 Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow, 2006 Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation, 2008 Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum.
  • angelica hernandez

    its cool

  • mike

    I Like Turtles!

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