Hawaii’s green sea turtles, also known as honu, are a symbol of good luck, wisdom, and longevity. In Hawaiian legends, honu figure as messengers, protectors, and guides. The turtles, which appear in ancient petroglyphs as well as in modern iconography throughout the Hawaiian Islands, are also the inspiration for the official logo of the Rotary International Convention in Honolulu, taking place from 6 to 10 June.
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In Hawaii, snorkelers often encounter these graceful giants — adult turtles often weigh more than 300 pounds — as they use their long, winglike front legs to propel themselves through the water. The best places to see green sea turtles include Hanauma Bay, just a half-hour by car from Honolulu, and Laniakea Beach, on Oahu’s north shore.
At Hanauma Bay, you might see the turtles swimming in the shallow water near the reefs. At Laniakea Beach, the turtles come up onto the beach to sun themselves. Be sure to give them their space; for the protection of this endangered species, it is illegal to touch or disturb them. But seeing green sea turtles sunning themselves or swimming offshore is an unforgettable experience for visitors to Hawaii.
• Don’t miss the 2020 Rotary Convention in Honolulu. Register at riconvention.org by 15 December to save.
• This story originally appeared in the September 2019 issue of The Rotarian magazine.