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Victoria's Underwater Gallery III

"The Infamous Miss Piggy's Page"
front view Ms.P

Anyone who's done any diving off the Kona Coast is likely to have met the famous green sea turtle,"Miss Piggy"
She always seems glad to see us and is a photographers delight as she can be quite the ham.

When I first began taking underwater photographs on the Big Island of Hawaii, I had quite a collection of turtle butts. Then I met Miss Piggy! The most friendly, inquisitive turtle I have ever met. Now I know you're not supposed to touch them, and she hates for people to touch her shell (which people who don't know any better tend to want to do), but she loves having her neck gently scratched.

She was discovered and named by some of the divers with Dive Makai around the summer of '87 and as they told some of the other shops about her, she developed quite a fan club. When I wasn't diving in Kohala, North of Kona (Kohala is a major turtle sanctuary), I would play and work with the people at Jack's Diving Locker. Many times when we show up in her territory she will appear before the first diver is 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.

After diving with her I figured out that the reason the turtles of Kohala were always swimming away from me wasn't because of the noise of breathing with scuba equipment, but the excitement I felt inside upon seeing them. As soon as I learned to stay calm and not focus on them too much, I started getting some really nice shots. Some of them would even follow us around for portions of our dive. There was one that even used to hang out on night dives. Generally at night they would be resting under coral and lava overhangs or in small caves. While sitting on shore to watch the sunset it's ritualistic to see them frequently pop their heads up for air while they feed in tidal pools at that time of the afternoon.

Glad you enjoyed Miss Piggy. The part I didn't tell is that she would get so jealous if everyones attention became focused away from her because someone found an octopus or a pet-able eel or a frogfish. She nipped a couple of people that got too touchy-grabby with her. Very rare though. Once though, I saw her be a total brat. One of the charters had requested video. My boss did the video, I had my own group of 4 and like to shoot stills. Anyway after the dive we were editing the tape and the guy was really hamming it up. Way in the background you could see this little speck getting closer and bigger and my boss says "Watch her. The little bugger's gunna 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 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 or the vibe he was putting off while clowning around. We couldn't help it. We were rolling with laughter even after the 5th rewind. The guy called to tell the videographer to make sure he didn't edit it out. Her little quirks really reminded me of parrots I have known.