Honu is the Hawaiian name for Turtle and Hawaiian legend has it that when the first woman fell to earth she was caught by a turtle. I love this legend that I recently came across in a book, however my love of turtles started many years ago when living on Heron Island at the very southern end of the Great Barrier Reef (my 2nd favourite place in the world after Yamba!)
At Heron Island I was told a beautiful story about sea turtles by one of the Marine Biologists – I believe it may be an aboriginal story – anyone who has witnessed the precious event of a mother turtle laying her eggs may remember seeing what looks like tears coming from her eyes, leaving a trail down her face.
The matter-of-fact of the situation may be that the “tears” are caused by irritation from sand when building the pit and egg chamber, but the story I was told was much more touching and memorable.
It was said that the Mother Turtle cries when laying her eggs because she knows she will never see her babies.
That night, whilst watching the wonder of nature, I fell in love with that story and with turtles.
They may not be the brightest “kids in the current” but I have a soft spot in my heart for Turtles and they have qualities I both admire and identify with. I love the determination they have to survive – to keep going forward in their struggle to make their way up the beach – over rocks and any other obstacle in their way – to lay their eggs.
And the dear little hatchlings that have to break through their shell – make their way from the egg chamber under the sand to the surface – and head to the ocean despite threat from seagulls and herons, interference from humans and once in the ocean the threat of sharks.
While you should never do this, when the hatchlings are picked up (usually by a National Park Ranger) the hatchling still keeps moving as if on land – I love that NEVER GIVE UP ATTITUDE!! I love that they carry their home on their back! As a serial-traveller/nomad, I totally identify with this – I have always staunchly protected my freedom and ability to be able to pick up and move on when the urge takes me.
I have lived most of my life with “my home on my back”, working on islands and cruise ships and being able to give in to my urge to move on when that itchy-feet feeling came over me was as vital to me as air.
I have avoided accumulating “things” that have the capacity to tie me down in one place – in my 30’s I almost had a meltdown when my boyfriend at the time wanted us to buy a TV together and now, at my mature age, I have just bought my very first washing machine and fridge!!! And whilst I have purchased real estate over the years, I have never lived in anything I have bought and continue to prefer to rent. Commitment issues? Who me???
So when you visit Melt keep an eye out for the turtles here and there throughout this special beauty space – there is a story behind each one.
Oh and if you want to experience the best of the Great Barrier Reef, the magic of seeing a turtle lay her eggs on the beach and nature at her finest, make sure Heron Island is on your bucket list!
Love & Hugs
Jo @ Melt x