Loki's Friend

Loki's Friend the sea turtle

The Story of Loki’s Friend

Thank you for adopting Loki’s Friend, a green sea turtle named by Kathleen Wachs of California through the Name-an-Animal program at Pacific Whale Foundation.

Our research team sighted Loki’s Friend on June 2, 2011 and July 19, 2011 off of South Maui in a place called Turtle Town resting and swimming in an area with a sandy bottom.

The shell of a green sea turtle – also known as its carapace – is mostly black, marked with mottled wavy rays of yellow, green, brown and white which mimic the way sunlight plays through the water onto corals and other rough surfaces. Because of this masterful camouflage, it’s easy to overlook a green sea turtle among the corals. You may be wondering why green sea turtles don’t have green shells. Here’s the answer: they are named for their skin and fat which are tinted green by the algae and plants they consume.

Like all green sea turtles, Loki’s Friend has large flippers for paddling and a streamlined shell that slips easily through the water.  Green sea turtles are able to swim long distances in the ocean, and to move relatively quickly, both of which are important to survival. In fact, sea turtles have been known to swim at speeds of up to 35 mph!

This swimming ability is important, because Hawaii’s green sea turtles routinely make long migrations of 500 or more miles to their place of birth, in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, a chain of tiny islands and atolls, which stretch west of Kauai. Most of the turtles nest at East Island and its tiny neighboring islets, which are collectively known as French Frigate Shoals. About every two to three years, the sexually mature female turtle returns to her birthplace to nest on land at night. Nesting typically occurs from May through August. Males make the journey every year or two, mating with the females offshore.

Sea turtles hatch at night from eggs laid in sandy nests. They work together to dig their way out of the sand, and then scurry toward the brighter horizon of the ocean, past predatory birds and crabs. Those that survive drift out to deeper waters, subsisting on fish eggs and small crustaceans. As juveniles and adults, Hawaiian sea turtles settle into coastal waters of the islands, in places such as “Turtle Town” off the coast of Maui.

Hawaii’s green sea turtles are protected by the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Under this law, it is illegal to harm, harass or kill green sea turtles. We are thankful for this protective law, and for all, who so generously support efforts to protect Hawaii’s green sea turtles and their ocean home.

Sightings of Loki's Friends

Species: 
Whale
Area: 
Hawaii