Maui Vacation Travel Blog

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Celebrity Sea Turtle Returns to Lay Eggs in Lahaina

Maui Girl has returned to nest after an absence that had researchers and fans worried.
August 05, 2011

Celebrity Sea Turtle Returns to Lay Eggs in Lahaina

Lahaina Shores Beachfront Resort

The popularly known green sea turtle known as "Maui Girl" has recently returned for her egg laying season after a worrisome absence. Several factors make her a subject of popular interest:

1. She is the only captive-reared Hawaiian green sea turtle that has survived to reproduce for certain.

2. She was released on the Big Island decades ago but has chosen Lahaina, Maui as her nesting site, and tends to favor the beach between the Lahaina Shores Resort and Kamehamehaiki Park. She is the only turtle known to have nested in Lahaina in 50 years.

3. Since the year 2000, she had consistently returned every two years to lay her eggs, but did not appear last year when she should have, which worried her fans and the researchers that monitor her. Her late arrival indicates a three-year cycle instead of the usual two.

There are other interesting tidbits about this popular West Maui inhabitant. Green sea turtles are federally listed as a threatened species, so her successful contribution to the population is great news! Unlike other green sea turtles that lay about 100 eggs per nest, Maui girl tends to lay 80-90, but she usually nests more often than the typical 4-5 nests that other turtles lay in the summer season.

If you happen to spot Maui Girl or any other turtle laying eggs on the beaches, it is crucial not to approach and frighten them away. Turtles nest at night, and shining lights at them will also frighten them back into the ocean, so be sure not to take any pictures with your flash. Baby turtles will head toward the light to find the ocean, and can often become confused and head inland toward the lights on the shore where they cannot survive. Dark and quiet is key!

If all goes well, you will observe the turtle explore the beach for a suitable spot, dig what is known as a "body pit" which will be 18 or more inches, and then an egg chamber which is the same depth. Interestingly, the chamber is teardrop shaped, with more space toward the bottom and a narrower opening above. That they can accomplish this in sand is marvelous. When she is done, she will cover the area and head back out to the ocean.

If you don't spot one during the elusive egg-laying process, you may run across one snorkeling. If you want to be certain to see them, check out the turtle habitat at the Maui Ocean Center in Ma'alaea.

The Hawaiian name for the sea turtle is "honu" and it is considered to be a powerful guardian spirit (amakua). It is one of the most revered and respected animals in Hawaii, and a favorite of visitors and residents alike.

We hope you have enjoyed learning about Maui Girl! If you are searching for your Maui vacation accommodations, we can help. Check out our Maui vacation rental specials page for wonderful deals. If you need any assistance, you'll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Mahalo!

By Tess Cartwright

Blogs for August 2011

Where to Golf on Your Maui Vacation

Posted on August 26, 2011
Where to Golf on Your Maui Vacation

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Visit Maui's Iao Needle

Posted on August 19, 2011
Visit Maui's Iao Needle

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Jutting 1200 feet up from the valley floor is… Continue Reading

Haleakala Crater Visit on Your Maui Vacation

Posted on August 12, 2011
Haleakala Crater Visit on Your Maui Vacation

As most people know, the seasons are more distinct the further you are from the equator, but Maui is pretty close to it, so it tends to be warm all year round. That being said, there is a slight temperature variation with slightly cooler… Continue Reading

Celebrity Sea Turtle Returns to Lay Eggs in Lahaina

Posted on August 05, 2011
Celebrity Sea Turtle Returns to Lay Eggs in Lahaina

The popularly known green sea turtle known as "Maui Girl" has recently returned for her egg laying season after a worrisome absence. Several factors make her a subject of popular interest:

1. She is the only captive-reared Hawaiian green sea turtle that has… Continue Reading

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