Anyone who's done any diving off the Kona Coast is likely
Top: The big "Hello". Left: Miss
When I first began taking
When I wasn't diving North of Kona (South Kohala is
a major turtle sanctuary), where I lived, I would play
and work with the people at Jack's Diving Locker off the
Kona Coast. Nearly every time we arrived in her territory
she would show up before the first diver was in the water.
As far as taking pictures goes, all one has to do is hold
up the camera and wait for her to be just the right
distance away as she comes swimming toward you.
Miss Piggy and 14 yr.old diver
While trying to capture this photo, Miss Piggy
drifted into my daughter's head a couple of times (did I
mention she was a ham?), making it necessary for her to
gently push her away a few inches. Although you are not
supposed to touch turtles, people that don't know better
always seem to want to touch or hold on to their shells. I
have yet to see a turtle that didn't get uncomfortable
and flinch away from this. I have likened it to the anxiety
we feel when someone places their hand on your head as
if to hold you under water. Miss Piggy being less shy
than any turtle I've ever known, has nipped a couple of
people that got too touchy, grabby with her. Aggression is
very rare unless she feels defensive and in danger.
The darker, yet also humorous side of Miss Piggy
is that she can get a bit jealous if everyones attention
becomes focused away from her because someone found
an octopus, a friendly eel or a frogfish. She'll swim
around and in and out of the group to make sure
everyone is aware that SHE is there too!
Once though, I saw her be a total little brat.
One of the charters had requested video. My boss,
Jeff Leicher, did the video, I had my own group of 4 and
was focused on my party. From my perspective I only
noticed Miss Piggy visiting the two groups in between her
trips to the surface for air. Anyway after the dive I hung
around while he was editing the tape and the charter was
really hamming it up. Way in the background you could see
this little speck getting closer and bigger and Jeff says
"Watch her, the little booger is going bite this guy." She
came up behind him, swooped in front of him and nipped
him on the arm and then swam off tilting her shell to and fro
like a see-saw all tickled with herself. I couldn't believe it! I told him "You gotta put the Jaws music on that approach!" I never saw her do anything like that before or after that time.
I don't know if it was the guy getting all of Jeff's attention or
some vibe he was putting off while clowning around.
We couldn't help ourselves. We were rolling with
laughter even after watching it for about the fifth
time. Right then the charter called to ask Jeff to
make sure he didn't edit it out. She hadn't hurt him
and he thought it was pretty funny himself. We all
agreed it had not really been an act of aggression
since she really wasn't trying to hurt him. It was
more like "Ha! Gottcha!" Her little quirks really
remind me of a couple of affectionate parrots
I have known.
Because she was dubbed "Miss Piggy" we have always
referred to her as a "she". In reality it's near impossible to
tell male and female turtles apart until they reach maturity.
In Hawaii they take 10 to 50 years to sexually mature,
though average is 25 years. The male develops a long tail
which can be as long or longer than his back flippers. The
female's tail barely sticks out of the end of her shell, as it
does during the youth of both the females and males.
Continue To Page 2:
|1.Handcrafted Creations: Dolphin & Whale Boxes|
|2.My Underwater Photo Gallery I: Special People|
|3.My Underwater Photo Gallery II: Sea Turtles II|
|4.My Underwater Photo Gallery III: More Marine Life|
|5.Underwater Photo Gallery IV: Dolphins|
|6.Underwater Photo Gallery V: Humpback Whales|