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Sea turtles are fascinating creatures. I've photographed quite a few over the years - like this one - but it has always been a difficult exercise with just one wary turtle anywhere in view. I was lucky to get one good image before the turtle flippered away into the blue.
Last weekend Frederique and I had a terrific time with a colony of at least 6 Green Sea Turtles, Chelonia mydas, at the Amedee Marine Reserve.
Amedee Island is a very popular tourist destination and every day the MaryD high speed ferry brings hundreds of visitors to the tiny island 10 miles from Noumea. The visitors go snorkeling and/or take a trip on the MaryD glass bottom boat. Which means that every day the turtles have lots of people oogling them from the glass bottom boat or up close and personal. So they ignored us and calmly let me photograph them with my trusty GoPro Hero3+ while they munched on sea grass, held meetings, surfaced to take a breath, and sometimes had minor disputes over a choice frond of algae. I actually never realized before that these guys had a social life (other than mating, that is).
I came away knowing a whole lot more about sea turtles and over 100 really fine images showing green sea turtles from every conceivable angle.
It was a rare pleasure to be able to take photos of this endangered sea creature in its native habitat with clear, calm water only a couple of meters deep.
But the real credit for this image, and for the millions of other photos taken by visitors since 1993, goes to the dedicated men and women who created, protect, and provide access to the Amedee Special Marine Reserve. The reserve is now part of the New Caledonia Lagoon UNESCO World Heritage Management area that protects the worlds largest coral reef lagoon. Because of their continued efforts, you - or your children - can enjoy a close photo encounter with sea turtles whenever you wish. Just come to Noumea, hop on the MaryD ferry and don't forget your camera.
New Caledonia is the closest South Pacific Island to Australia and New Zealand. It is a French Territory and although the official language is French the culture is a blend of Melanesian, European, Polynesian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Indonesian, and more. There is one large mountainous island called Grande Terre and 6 smaller islands - the three Loyalty Islands, Belep and the Isle of Pines.The islands are remarkably unpopulated and there are vast areas of wilderness. There are hundreds of kilometers of walking treks, camp grounds, more than 42 parks and reserves, and crystal clear rivers with sparkling waterfalls. Almost one third of the population is located in the capital city of Noumea. Nickel mining is the primary industry and is the major contributor to the high standard of living in the country. Grande Terre is surrounded by the second largest barrier reef in the world and the protected lagoon created by this barrier reef is the largest in the world. Listed as a World Heritage Site in 2008, the lagoon is 24,000 square kilometers and supports a diverse and luxuriant fauna of fish and invertebrates.The vibrant, clear and rich colors are one of the first things that visitors notice when they arrive. Noumea has a complete range of hotels, resorts, restaurants, and activities to welcome visitors.