At Punalu’u Beach Park on the Island of Hawaii, sea turtles climb onto the black sand beaches to do what it is that everyone does on the beach: relax, have a cocktail or two, sunbath, do some light swimming.
Many of these turtles have returned to the same shores for years and for generations, finding safe haven among the rocks and palm trees for their nesting sites.
People gather to watch and photograph and get frustratingly close to these sensitive animals, and it’s all I can do to fight the Yellowstone ranger in me that wants to smack people for getting just one more inch closer. Unlike elk and grizzly bears, though, sea turtles don’t usually put their tormentors in a hospital. A group of Japanese girls squeal in delight as the turtle moves slowly toward the waves, but thankfully, they keep a respectful distance.
Enjoy these creatures as they swim and waddle and bask in the warm, tropical sun, but please, leave them alone to live and love in peace.
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