Komandoo’s VVIPs: Resident Hawksbill Turtles
Komandoo is fortunate to be a resort located smack bang in the middle of what is considered one of the Maldives’ best turtle hotspots. Thanks to the partnership with the Olive Ridley Project (their Turtle Biologist and Educator, Dr. Stephanie Köhnk, is based at the Marine Center at the neighbouring Kuredu), we know that a total of 287 sea turtles have so far been identified in Lhaviyani Atoll. Of these, 170 are green sea turtles, meaning that nearly half of all the green sea turtles in the Maldives live in this area. What’s interesting though is that it’s the hawksbill turtles that are more common around Komandoo. Out of the 103 individuals identified in the atoll, 24 hawksbill turtles have been recorded to reside or pay visits to Komandoo’s house reef.
Our earliest recorded turtle sighting is of Cousteau, a hawksbill that was first documented at Komandoo in December 2012. Cousteau is indeed the most sighted turtle of the island, by now 18 times.
Another prominent turtle from Komandoo is Spud. This juvenile is easy to identify because it has a dent in its shell, most likely an old healed shark bite mark.
One of the newest hawksbills is a juvenile called Lucien, which was first sighted in February 2018 and adopted by two guests who met the little turtle during a snorkeling tour.
The hawksbills can be seen feeding or resting on the reef, but the resting ones are really well camouflaged, so keep your eyes peeled the next time you snorkel at Komandoo’s easy-to-access and shallow house reef, and speak with the dive center team about the famous ‘Turtle Airport’ for you to also see hawksbills’ cousins, green sea turtles, guarding an outreef nearby.
Photo credit: Dr. Stephanie Köhnk, Olive Ridley Project