Diving With Cayman’s Turtles!
On May 10th 1503, Christopher Columbus and his crew sailed past the three Cayman Islands on their way back from their forth voyage from the new world. Their journals noted the abundance of sea turtles present in the waters just off the sleepy uninhabited Cayman Islands. “It was as if you could walk to shore on the backs of turtles”. This gave rise to the name, Los Tortugas or “Turtles”, which was later changed to the Cayman Islands.
While walking to shore on the backs of turtles is certainly not possible today, the Cayman Islands are still home to an abundant population of Hawks Bill Turtles.
Considered to be critically endangered, these turtles can be seen all throughout the three islands. Hawksbill Turtles are breath hold divers. This means they breathe air from the surface much like you or I. It is for this reason that we never touch, tease or harass turtles while diving. Because they have a limited amount of air in their lungs, if excited, these turtles can quickly burn through their limited supply of air, causing the turtle to drown.
Sea turtles make the perfect subject for any photographer or videographer. Their slow movement can be used to your advantage and will often pose for calm, non aggressive divers. Photographing these majestic creatures is easily done with a steady hand, patience and by following a few simple tips.
- Stalk your subject. Never swim directly at the Turtle. Let him know your there for a few moments so he can get used to your presence
- Anticipate his movement. If you can situate yourself in his path, you can get a great shot as he swims toward you
- Relax. Heavy breathing and lots of bubbles can run off most critters
- Never chase a turtle. This will result in shots of his backside only.
- Practice good buoyancy. Make sure your not touching anything living. Remember, take only pictures, leave only bubbles!
The dive sites of the Cayman Islands are known for their picturesque seascapes and curious creatures.
Following these simple steps can bring that elusive perfect image into focus.
Check out the video below for your daily turtle reggae fix:-)