View Full Version : Manta at Salt Pier/Maimed Turtle

10-09-2012, 06:12 PM
We had just entered the water at the Salt Pier, 2:15 pm, 06 Oct, when the gleam of the dangling white mandibles grabbed our attention. There was no time to change the camera setting from land to underwater, so the quality of the video reflects that.

On Bonaire, we have a manta encounter an average of once every 200 dives, so when it does happen it’s a cork-popping event.

Switching topics, the video also contains footage of 2 turtles who are surviving despite physical limitations: a maimed hawksbill and a one-eyed green sea turtle.

At “Sweet Dreams”, 26 feet, 8:45 am, 07 October, we encountered a young hawksbill who struggled with mobility. Upon closer inspection, we saw that the metal ID tag on the left flipper was gone, along with the surrounding flesh and muscle. The result was a useless limb with stunted growth. To compensate, the turtle attempted to use the back left flipper. When it attempted to increase its speed to avoid us, it ended up spinning in circles.

We see poorly attached, dangling ID tags regularly on Bonaire’sturtles. It’s only a matter of time before a dangling tag gets snagged. Perhaps this is what happened to this turtle, or maybe there was an infection which started when the tag was attached, or …?

The one-eyed green sea turtle is quite the survival story. Because the eyelids were sealed closed it was difficult to assess exactly what was going on in the eye socket. The vision loss might be due to an injury later in its young life rather than a defect from birth. Even with a fully-operational range of vision, most juvenile sea turtles are eaten during their first two years. It’s hard to imagine a hatchling surviving with such a limited range of vision, which leads me to think this is a more recent event.

Otherwise, this green looked healthy.


10-09-2012, 07:00 PM
Yes...good luck to those 2 handicapped turtles. They have a tough road ahead of them. Great video of them and the manta!

10-10-2012, 08:13 AM
I had been reading about the manta sightings all summer, then they seemed to stop. I was hoping it would hang around until this Saturday when I arrive on island. Seems like he's back! I hope I have a chance to see him in the two weeks we'll be in Bonaire! Great video as well. It's amazing that those turtles have survived.

10-10-2012, 08:52 AM
Most excellent video and good luck to the two turtles.

Kim keep an eye out in the shallows to the south, when we were there in April the Manta was doing slow circles in 2 feet of water at Tori's Reef. You could see him from the road. This encounter sounds very similar.

10-11-2012, 09:02 AM
Awesome! I'll be sure to check out Tori's reef as soon as we can. We saw mantas in the South Pacific, but seeing one in Bonaire would be so special, even if he's a smaller fellow (the ones we saw in the SP were about 15 feet across the wings!).