Hi all, it has been a while since we have made a blog about our resident turtles.. After all we are surrounded by them in Tenerife..
This blog was written after an incident in one of our dives where another Dive Centre made a wrong move in front of our customers..
It was a sunny day (usual here in Tenerife) and we were just about to enter the water when we reminded our divers that if the turtles show up then no grabbing, no feeding, don’t be scared, stay still if they swim towards you etc… The usual stuff…
Just behind us, there was another Dive Centre entering the water which I had spotted.
As we entered the water and descended to about 4-5m we were greeted by Jose and Juan (the two biggest turtles in El Puertito). They were very friendly that day and wanted to play and investigate our divers… All was good, and I again spotted the other dive centre coming towards us. At this stage, we were in a circle with the turtles over our head and the divers with their guide from the other dive centre slowly came to sit next to us. At this stage the turtles were going up to the divers, looking around then moving to the next and carried on being gentle as usual. To my surprise, the guide took out dead fish and started to cut and hand out to his divers, the only reason I see in doing this is to get the turtles even closer to his divers for his guaranteed photos. I am not going to get into the details but I have never seen Jose behave the way he did as soon as he was fed, he became very agitated and changed his behavior around my divers, I had to get in between the turtles and my divers, I must say, at this stage I exchanged some gestures with the other guide and he quickly took the fish off from his customers hand, but unfortunately the damage was done and I slowly pulled my divers away from the other divers and continued our dive as we usually do..
There is no excuse, there is a big sign at this dive site explaining not to feed the turtles but some people will always ignore things like that..
Feeding removes the greatest pleasures of venturing into the wild observing natural behavior. Marine animals that are fed behave completely differently from those that forage on their own.
Marine animals in the wild have very particular diets. Eating other foods can weaken and sicken wildlife.
Feeding causes wildlife to lose their natural fear of humans. These animals become easy targets for people who do not respect wildlife and would hurt them intentionally. Also, people who become fearful may injure an animal in an attempt to defend themselves against a mistaken “attack.”
Feeding causes injuries and harmful interactions between marine animals by forcing competition and confrontation among individuals and species which otherwise would not interact. We see this at the same site, There is always a large barracuda swimming around the turtles… This is most probably due to the feeding happening at this site.
No doubt the feeding will continue, but we will continue to educate as much as we can..
Happy Safe Diving