Hilo, Hawaii is known for its lush, green landscape that is filled with cascading waterfalls and tons of volcanos. However, my family and I decided to spend our time in Hilo getting to know the locals. When I say locals, I’m not talking about the people. I’m talking about the cute, friendly, and totally awesome sea turtles that call the Hilo coastline home. Now, I have swam with stingrays, dolphins, leopard sharks, and seals… but not turtles! I think it was about time I familiarized myself with these gentle creatures!
The best place to get up-close and personal with the sea turtles (for free) is at Carlsmith Bay. This four mile stretch of state park is a favorite hotspot for tourists to swim and snorkel because lava rocks and reef protect the area. With this protection it makes it seem like the bay is your own little enclosed swimming pool!
Of course, my sisters and I jumped right in the water hoping that tons of sea turtles were awaiting our arrival. On the ride over, we became a little discouraged if we were going to actually see any because the taxi driver said that the turtles hadn’t been coming around often. However, within minutes of us getting our feet wet, two beautiful sea turtles greeted us with their presence!
Normally, wild animals (or any animal for that matter) makes me a little nervous to get close too. However, in this case, I was not giving these sea turtles any personal space at all! They were so gentle and friendly that it made it difficult to not want to touch them! Which is exactly what I did… and got yelled at for!! Here’s a little tip: DO NOT TOUCH THE TURTLES. I found out that touching the sea turtles is harmful to them because it could give them diseases. I was given a scolding and a lecture from a local resident for my little love tap. (Apparently everyone, but me, knows about this rule. Embarrassing.)