Yesterday brought World Turtle Day and as we have so many in Tenerife, they deserve a blog entry…
The most common turtles we see in Tenerife are the green turtles and on our two local sites we have two resident turtles in Alcala (one other has been spotted but we rarely see him) and we have recently seen a total of 4 in El Puertito. 2 we see most dives the other two are a bit shy. One of the 4 is a baby turtle which just the other week swam past us and that was the first time we have seen him.
The one we have named Jose, which always comes to see us is very friendly and usually comes up to your face (good for some excellent shots – you may have seen these on our facebook page) before swimming past you above your head. He likes to be scratched on his back and you will see him swinging side to side and rest on the sand as you do this. He always comes back for a few of those before he makes his way to other divers.
Here comes what makes us angry at the Dive Centre… Some Divers and dive guides seem to be feeding these turtles with fish they bring in from the local market.. There are mixed emotions on this and our view is that it is a big mistake to do this. These turtles grow to learn to eat from what they can find, if you feed them then they loose the urge to look for food and this is sadly one action that ends up killing the turtles.. They stop finding food because they believe the next divers will bring them food, if then this ever stops they will find themselves die of hunger. This is very sad and luckily rare that it happens but unfortunately we have seen it happen. The other negative on feeding them is that they will get used to feeding from divers fingers and at times they may think that the next divers coming to see them also have food and instead go for their fingers.
While I was taking customers on a guided dive the other day in El Puertito I saw a dive guide feed the turtle and as the turtle was getting a bit desperate for the food while he was cutting it the guide acted in non friendly way to put it nicely and pushing the turtle away left me no choice but to have a word with him when he came out. Not something I normally like to do but this was not showing my divers any good Project aware and not very nice for the turtle which we love.
I am happy to see that the Alcala turtles do not get fed by the clubs and centres that use this site and you can see the difference in the turtle behavior, they are much more calm and stay close to you but are not always looking at your fingers..!!
There is no need to feed them, they look after themselves and they always come to see you anyway, why feed them for the extra few minutes they may stay with you.. Help us to stop this behavior..
Happy Diving everyone..
Here is a picture of Jose..