As a magazine writer (publishing my own magazines where I could -and would- add pages and shrink type size to barely legible as needed), I’ve grown accustomed to the zealous and verbose. Hey, when we wrote freelance back then we got two dollars for every drawn-out word (ah, the good old dayz). Anyway, I like curling up for a long read, and yes, I’ve even curled up with my Mac”Book” on occasion. But I can also appreciate the blurbs… er… blogs. Short and sweet. My sort of “articles” that appear in CGW typically originally stem from random thoughts and brain farts – that I might have intended on keeping simple… no, really. My intentions are good. I’m not trying to hurt anyone. And I know fully well, that 95% stop reading after the first paragraph…or first picture. Unfortunately, in that way that keeps me consciously success-stunted, I only care about the 5%. I only yearn for the attention of the strange soul who would sit through one of my unedited, parenthesis laden, adjective abusing, quote stealing, grammar-hating prose. And then the 1% that can relate – I will marry them.
So for those who want more than two supa-sized posts a month (hey, I do the surf report every day!), even though you won’t donate a penny (oh you didn’t notice that PayPal button – maybe it comes in fuzzy on your monitor), and despite varying degrees of suicidal inclinations, insecurities and inabilities to complete… I will do my best to write more often. Because, even if I make up a large portion of the 1%, I do not love myself enough to marry myself, and for some reason writing has a need and desire beyond sheer ego to be read (and keeping it all in my mind is making me a little weird and socially unacceptable). I’ll let this piece flow artlessly, unabridged, like an unreserved schizo diary entry for the one-minute-or-less crowd and (because of my heart-wrenching devotion to you dear readers) my only restriction will simply be…to try for once to keep it under 5,000 words.
So, my blog post for today is as follows….
The turtles here are attacking. No, seriously. The sea turtles. It’s like the birds. I mean The Birds, the movie. Actually, at this very moment, not very very moment, I’m writing this piece about sharks (Sharks, Swells and Stinky Smells – the original post intended to be a couple paragraphs long -actually it started off about ocean smells really- but, see what happens is, the topic starts opening itself up like origami and I can’t stop it and it opens and opens and… I fall in). So I’m kinda thinking about shark attacks, even though the piece is more about no shark attacks, when coincidentally people out surfing in Hilo start getting attacked. No, not by sharks, but by the Honu!
purty turtle pict by Mila Zinkova check her link for more.
NO MORE TURTLE SOUP
Okay, attacked is a strong word. Most people are just getting hit by them. But see, here in Hawai’i they’re all over the place. Endangered list and no more turtle soup and (minus some questionable tumors [fibropapillona]) they’re thriving. And usually we don’t have a problem. One of a few reasons why we prefer Futures to FCS is ’cause the fin’ll pop out instead of pulling out the whole plug with it when we hit the turtles with our skegs…we hit them and then we keep going, flying through the air, kinda Wile E. Coyote style – super funny. Luckily the turtle’s shells are tough enough to get pounded on rocks and cliffs – so they don’t mind so much. We grab the shell and go for rides (totally illegal people!) or pet the shell, which supposedly removes some protective algae coating and is bad for them but I don’t understand how…. (and I don’t dare look it up right now ’cause that’s often how my personal origami torture begins. Curiosity and all that. We don’t need to know everything….. Okay, maybe later… but I did notice this cool link… on instructions for an origami turtle and this freakish geekish YouTube vid that is short and to the point…besides being ridiculously impossible to follow… unless you’re Dungeons and Dragons-kine fanatic about folding pieces of paper.)
Anyway, before today the only person I knew who got injured by a sea turtle was a body surfer at Pohoiki, who dove head first into a wave straight into a turtle and broke his nose. The whole top portion of his face was black and blue – those things are huge.
MY ATTACK STORY
So today, after riding a wave, I’m paddling back out and my hand brushes a turtle, but instead of it casually shwooing away UFO-style as it typically would, it grabs me. I felt either like something chomped my hand that had no teeth, or my hand was stuck in some portion of its body, caught under the shell. I have no idea, but it hurt. More like a shock kinda hurt. You know how there are variables to pain, like when surfing and you eat it hard but jump right back on the board and shake it off. But then, when someone, or something, does it to you (causes a comparable amount of pain), somehow it “hurts” i.e. annoys you more. Is this still too train-of-thought…hmmm?
Thing is, after the odd turtle grabbing incident, and once I got over my hand kinda hurting, I had this weird vibe. Like that turtle told the other turtles something about me. Or like they were ganging up on me (I’m very sensitive). And I caught another nice left, into the shallow area (the longboarders were all going right but the lefts were sick and some barreling) – and another one charged at me, splashing the water next to me. I tried not to go left anymore but goofy-foot couldn’t help herself and it happened again; suddenly I felt surrounded, there were turtles everywhere, and they all seemed agitated. I screamed to my friend, in kinda a joking way, but I really wanted her to watch me paddle back out ’cause I felt threatened. Hey, there are stranger horror movie concepts than this!
So problem here is… that I’m missing the love triangle of the story. Okay, one aspect is in the shark piece (that’s almost completed by the way, did I mention) – and that is about sharks possibly being attracted to female smells. Yes, female humans. No, not in order to attack them…to…you know…sexually (okay, you’ll have to read it). It’s just a few juggled hypotheses. But, what are turtles attracted to or not attracted to… they’re just so damn quiet, they don’t let on. They never talk, never complain – they just cruise, nibble and piss.
Ahhh and make babies! See, I never witnessed it live. But when my girl dog was going to jump in at one of her favorite swimming spots the other day, she sniffed around, retreated, and took a wide turn to enter farther away. She smelt them, because she never actual caught the visual of them underwater, but there they were, two huge consenting alien sea creatures, embarking on a journey together. (Do they mate for life?; I wonder their age difference?; Is it pleasurable?… note again, more future research). So, back to embarking, it was more like an embargo. The male: sorta clumsy slow-mo extra large space ship (didn’t catch visual size of the…package). The woman: Obviously thinking to herself “whatevers – if he can’t get it goin’ on I’m over it.” This male turtle failed, but I’m concluding she can do better.
Anyway, point being, me thinks it’s mating season. Is that why the turtles are all ornery? (Oh shit, now I know why she was being choosy – I just read once coupled, they can stay that way for 10 hours —- see what happens when you don’t have cable for National Geographic or Discovery Channel…or even a TV). But one of the reasons I brought up female smells, is the fact that many of the surfer girls here… seem to be bleeding at the same time. Got a lot of full moon bleeders. It’s like a gang. A hardcore surfer girl gang of full moon bleeders. So the past week – blood. Lots and lots of menstrual blood (which was the actual impetus of the shark piece – no, you’ll have to read it! Yes, all of it!). And these turtle attacks have been happening over the past week. Are they not having any luck with their women? Are they hoping to get lucky with us? Or are we making the women mad stealing their men? Hey, maybe I’ll leave those and my other fifty questions unanswered ’cause this piece could certainly get longer.
That’s it. That’s all I have to say about the matter. Now I’m sleepy. That felt good. Just to get the moment’s ramble out of my head. A lot more easy! I guess the post is more text than most blogs – I’ll work on it – but it’s a start! Maybe I’ll even sleep more than five hours tonight. Wow, this must be how real bloggers feel. Kinda raw grandiose purification – an ocean plunge of words. Yeah, perhaps I’ll cap it off with a nice warm sea salt bath.
* * *
Okay, I definitely need the bath. I was almost raped by a sea turtle. I kinda had to do a little more research before going to bed – couldn’t help myself. But listen, did you know there was a Marine Turtle Newsletter? With an article entitled “Sexual Harassment By A Male Green Turtle”, written by Brian W. Bowen of the Hawai’i Institute of Marine Biology at the University of Hawai’i? Neither did I…
Male sea turtles (family Cheloniidae) are notoriously indiscriminate in mating behavior, facilitating hybridization among most of the species in this family (Karl et al. 1995)…. Male sea turtles occasionally attempt copulation with human swimmers, snorkelers, or scuba divers (W.N. Witzell, pers. comm.). The loggerhead (Caretta caretta) mating population in Southeast Florida lies adjacent to one of the most densely populated coastlines in the world, and every year a few people are approached or (more rarely) mounted by male loggerheads. NOAA diver Jack Javech of the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service Miami Laboratory reports two copulation attempts by male loggerheads while scuba diving in the Florida Keys (J. Javech, pers. comm.). During a separate incident in the same area, a turtle mounted a male scuba diver and made good its mating attack on this luckless individual (Epstein 1989). A commonality in these events is that the male turtle attempts to pin the victim to the bottom. These are large powerful animals, with potential to inflict injury or even drown an unsuspecting swimmer.
…The green turtle described here did not raise fore-flippers in an attempt to grasp the target, as they do with conventional mating. Probably by the time that occurs, the interaction is inevitable. The only advanced warning was the deliberate approach of a male turtle, and the only acute signal was the ongoing attempt to approach my backside. Both behaviors are unusual and should be regarded as harbingers of a copulation attempt.
This is shocking. Yet another thing no one warned me about! Helllooo, I had to touch live coral (accidentally) to understand that it’s sharper than a razor; I had to see a lobster-sized hard-shelled centipede (clickity-clicking through the lava rocks of an outdoor shower) before I was ever informed such horrible things existed; and none of the guys I surfed with -when I was younger and so obviously desperate to learn- ever gave me a hint about the concept of turtle diving. Oh, cute, that led us right back to turtles.
Could only find a wiki-fact (it’s own breed of facts):
In the tropics, green turtles are known to nest throughout the year, with some subpopulations preferring particular times of the year.
WARNING: The sea turtles in Hawai’i are mating! And they don’t seem to care who they are mating with! The sweet docile omnivorous creatures have a dark side! Girls, watch yourselves. And guys, don’t assume you are safe – those species-swingers have been bumpin’ men too! Keep your legs closed at all times! Paddle lightly! Look before you pop-up (and let me have the lefts!) Beware of the Honu!
xo, sweet dreams…