1. Sea turtles are kind none intrusive animals. They don’t bite . Great for children as they can get close to them and feel safe.
2. You are guaranteed to see them. Having grown up swimming with them Charlotte Piho and her warm experienced team no where they like to hangout and can show you all the secret spots including ‘turtle cafe’ and ‘turtle beach’ where they are often found sitting on the rocks or swimming playfully around.
3. Sea turtles are endangered, The Cook Islands has two species the Green sea turtle and critically endangered Hawksbill turtle. While in many countries seeing an animal so critically endangered is rare, in the Cook Islands they are flourishing.
4. There are emotional and psychological benefits to seeing a sea turtle in the wild. Your skin will sparkle afterwards. You will younger, healthier and happy. No joke. Charlotte Piho swears by this. ‘After every Cook Islands turtle tour’ guests faces are glowing. Seeing turtles and connecting with them really brings joy and energy to every part of you and makes your face light up.
5. It’s safe. You don’t need to go outside of the reef to swim with sea turtles. Charlotte Piho’s Cook Islands turtle tours take place inside the lagoon. On Charlotte Piho’s tours we know all the secret spots in shallow parts of the lagoon where the water clarity is best for photographs so you get to not only observe them but swim with them.
6. You will have beautiful stories and memories to share with others and relive in your head; for the rest of your life. Swimming with sea turtles in Rarotonga , Cook Islands will be one of the highlights of your Cook Islands trip. Many people say ‘It’s the most amazing experience of their life’
7. You will learn more about marine life. Healthy oceans rely on sea turtles. Sea turtles are known as a “keystone species”, which makes them an essential part of their environment and influence other species around them. If you remove a keystone species from a habitat, the natural order may be disrupted, which impacts other wildlife and fauna in different ways.
Sea turtles help control their prey. For instance, Sea turtles help to manage the number of jellyfish in the ocean; and critically endangered hawksbills help reefs stay healthy but eating sponges that compete with them for space.
8. You will get the rare international opportunity to not only observe lovingly but swim with Critically endangered Hawksbill turtles. Coral reefs are normally the home to hawksbills, which specialize in eating a handful of species of sea sponges. This diet allows less common types of sponges to grow, which increases the variety of life on the reef (also known as “biodiversity”). In countries where hawksbills are extinct, sponges may overgrow and suffocate slow-growing corals causing them to die. As reefs around the world become more and more under threat due to climate change and other impacts, the role critically endangered hawksbill turtles have on the reef and in our oceans is even more vital.
9. Watch animals helping each other. Sea turtles provide habitat for a range of “aquatic hitchhikers” like barnacles and other small crustaceans, remoras, algae, and diatoms. Sea turtles through their long migrations, help to transport these species. They also are said to ‘act as sort of an umbrella’ for fish. Fish use sea turtles to shelter them from predators. I’ve only witnessed this once, but if you’re lucky you may see at the sea surface when the sea turtle comes up to breathe or rest; them providing a resting spot for seabirds to land on.
10. Be inspired! Aside from their important ecological role, sea turtles are some of the most charismatic animals on the planet! They are a source of WOW!, awe, connection, love and inspiration. Without sea turtles our blue planet wouldn’t be complete and the world wouldn’t be as beautiful.
Still not convinced: Watch this virtual Cook Islands turtle tour with Charlotte Piho: