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Thank you for adopting Becky, a green sea turtle in the Pacific Whale Foundation adoption program.
Becky was named by the office staff of the Pacific Whale Foundation in a loving tribute to one of our greatest, most talented, and longest tenured Marine Naturalists, Joshua Wittmer, who lost his sister, Becky, in the winter of 2015. Joshua holds the title as the longest running Marine Naturalist on staff and one of the longer employed staff in the history of the company. He came to Maui in 2006 to pursue his passion to teach people about the ocean. He quickly proved his worth and extraordinary talent for sharing a strong message of ocean conservation with our passengers through his educational presentations and charismatic demeanor. In the winter of 2015, Joshua and his family lost Becky quite suddenly. Her memory will live on with her family and also now with a sea turtle namesake – one of her favorite ocean inhabitants.
At the time of this dedication, Joshua will be launching his 11th whale season as a naturalist aboard the Pacific Whale Foundations fleet of ocean classrooms. Whales that were brand new calves in his first year of working for the company will now be returning to Maui as full grown adults engaging in competition pods, mating, and calving. Joshua has seen many changes in the years that he has lived and worked on Maui, not only in the number of whales, but also in the ever growing and improving sea turtle population.
Becky the turtle was sighted by Joshua during a scuba diving expedition in 2009 to Makena Landing. This beautiful large (200 lb +) female green sea turtle was spotted off of the north lava finger of “Turtle Town” or Makena Landing during that dive. He took her picture and has kept it his personal collection ever since. Joshua is a talented and aspiring underwater photographer/videographer as well as being a dedicated naturalist.
She likely still roams the lava cliff sides of south Maui, just waiting to be re-sighted.
By dedicating this beautiful turtle to Joshua’s sister, this turtle can now hold a special spot in the hearts of all that see it and certainly in Joshua’s family. In keeping with Hawaiian tradition, Becky could be considered an ‘aumakua. In Hawaiian mythology, an ‘aumakua is considered a family god or spirit that is manifested in the form of an animal, such as sharks, owls, and even turtles otherwise known as honu in Hawaiian. It is thought that ‘aumakua in their animal forms watch over their family members as a sort of spiritual guardian. Whatever its form, the ‘aumakua is a specific individual animal that can be identified and located by the family. These specific animals and their species in general were considered sacred and were to be watched over and protected by all that encounter it.
By adopting Becky, not only are you helping protect this individual turtle so she can watch over Joshua, but you are also helping to protect Maui sea turtles in general and supporting the ongoing research programs and projects at Pacific Whale Foundation.