THIS is the smallest baby I saw. He's only about 18 inches long. The babies are pretty skittish, so it's best to stay a little further away. They ARE in fact, protected animals ... and it is ILLEGAL to swim too close, touch or otherwise harass them!! PLEASE if you ever get the chance to swim with these beautiful turtles, DO NOT TOUCH THEM!! The smallest amount of bacteria on your hands can eventually kill these guys, especially the babies.
Look at this beauty!!!! He's so young that he exhaled a little before his head got above water ... you can see a big air bubble on his chin.
He will hang at the surface for a second or two, then grab another breath. By the third or fourth time, he's heading back down. Here at the surface, the water is blue and the colors gorgeous.
I'm not that close in most of the pictures, in case you were wondering. I have an adjustable telephoto lens on my camera!!
Turtle reflections. Although this one was much lighter in color, it's also lighter because the backscatter was pretty bad this morning and I'm on the wrong side of the sun. Backscatter is the bane of underwater photography!! Algae and sand floating in the water makes the camera want to focus on it rather than on your subject. The further away you are, the worse the backscatter. Taking it out on the computer, resulted in a lighter image.
It was about here that I had to deal with five stupid tourists. They came swimming up coughing and choking, splashing and generally making so much noise that they scared the baby away. When they tried to pet the second baby, I read them the riot act!! OMG just be quiet and observe them ... no, they had to chase and be general idiots!! I was hoping Big Momma would lure them out to sea permanently, as she often does, but this time she only took them down the beach away from the babies.
By now, more and more people are swimming out this direction. I figure if I'm not hovering in one spot, they will never find them tucked up under the rocks, so I swam further out and just pretended I was taking pictures. Sure enough, I was soon surrounded by about ten snorkelers .... so I quietly headed back to shore.
Here's a juvenile resting on the bottom, which is where they spend most of their time. They move around and eat more at different times of the season. The cool thing about this image is the small black fish on it's back ... eating the algae growing on the shell.
Back at the condo two hours later, when the wind and clouds came up, these baby sparrows hunkered down in the grass out front. Not quite ready to take on the world, they stayed close to the bushes while waiting for mom to return.
Today is my last day in paradise ... I would hit the water again, but I don't have enough plastic bags to keep wet soggy diving gear away from my clothes. Today will be a "lay in the sun and rest up day" because tomorrow will be 20 hours long getting back home. I can't wait ... much as I LOVE it here, I've missed my puppies terribly!!!