LOCATION: Red Sea, Egypt
STORY: Moments like this happen once in a lifetime, or shall we say, once in 1000 turtle encounters. This hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), classified as critically endangered, had only one thing on his mind: lunch! He was so hungry, that he completely ignored me for 30+ minutes with my camera practically pressed up against his face! He was crushing that coral like candy!
The soft corals he was chowing on have a defense which works well against many predators; when disturbed, it excretes a white mucus (think tree sap) that’s toxic to most things. But nature always finds a way, and the hawksbill is seemingly unaffected. You can even see some of the mucus floating through the water towards the bottom of the frame. And when I returned to the same reef at the same time the next week in Southern Egypt’s Red Sea, guess what? He was feeding in the exact same place, on the same corals! I shot him for another 30 minutes with some different techniques for a different perspective – an absolutely magical experience!