Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

Sea Turtle Conservationist

Quick Details

Info Only available on 10am sailing.

Sea Turtle Conservationist

Do you want to help preserve the green sea turtles in Hawaii?

How about naming a turtle that you identify? You may be interested in the Sea Turtle Conservationist program.

The program includes everything you get with a normal Snorkel with Turtles charter.  Plus, scientific training on collecting sea turtle monitoring data. Additionally, at the end of the day we will look through and analyze all of the data we collected and name new turtles that were identified.

The program starts and 9am and will finish about 2pm.

Booking the Sea Turtle Conservationist program supports Ocean Alliance Project and their continuing efforts to monitor and maintain healthy sea turtle populations in Hawaii.


This snorkeling course covers everything there is to know about our sea turtle populations, ecology, and health status with the added bonus of getting experience on what it’s like to work as a marine biologist for the day. Even once the course is completed, you can use this training to continue to identify turtles around the world. This training allows you to make your mark in the sea turtle conservation field.

A public-private partnership for regenerative eco-tourism

The director of Ocean Alliance Project, Dylan Brown, established this course with a primary goal in mind: To better protect and preserve our local sea turtle populations using low cost methodologies and citizen scientists. This program has the potential to not only protect our sea turtles but also expand the regenerative tourism capabilities of Hawai’i

Why did we build this program?

Sea Turtles have captured the public’s eye over the past few decades. Rightfully so, as they are beautiful creatures, are critical for ecosystem function, and have growing threats as we continue to develop coastal areas. Although our population around the Hawaiian islands is large, our turtles are becoming increasingly susceptible to disease. Fibropapillomatosis is a form of papilloma virus that is becoming more and more common. Despite this, there is a huge lack of data regarding the turtles on the southern shores of Oahu (the most developed coastal area in the Hawaiian Islands). With your help, we can gain a better understanding of why this disease is becoming more prevalent, and learn what we as a community can do to make sure our turtle populations remain healthy for generations.

What does the Sea Turtle Conservationist day look like?

9am at 377 Keahole Street Ste E101 Island Divers Hawaii dive shop.  This is when you meet your marine biologist guide from Ocean Alliance Project and begin your one hour of scientific monitoring training

The boat departs at 10am and monitoring begins immediately upon arrival at the snorkeling site.  Turtles are very common here and images will be taken on all turtles spotted, as well as data on species, sex, size and disease.

The monitoring will end shortly before noon and the boat will return to the dock.  After a short break for lunch, the data collected will be reviewed and analyzed using facial recognition software.  Participants will capture any images they would like to keep, and if any new turtles are identified, they will be named by you, the conservationist.

That process should be complete by ~2pm.

What Sea Turtle Conservationist includes

  • Everything you get from a Snorkel with Turtle tour
  • Sea turtle workshop led by resident marine biologist
  • Private Marine Biologist Guide
  • Photos and videos of Honu
  • Photos and videos of YOU

What to bring

  • Swimsuit
  • Towel
  • Reef-safe sunscreen

Arrival and preparation

It is important to note that while you are booking a 10am snorkel with turtles tour as a Sea Turtle Conservationist, your arrival time is 9am.  This is when you will meet with the marine biologist from Ocean Alliance Project to learn how to identify species and sex, and how to spot disease.  Function of the cameras you will be using is also reviewed.  Don’t be late, this is your time!

Snorkeling in Maunalua Bay

The site we are going to do our monitoring is the same site as the normal tour, Koko Craters.  This cleaning and feeding site has a continuous population of green sea turtles.  Algae as food is plentiful in the area, and some of the fish that eat algae will also clean the shells of the sea turtles.  Because sea turtles breathe air and active turtles will surface every few minutes, meaning there are often very close encounters where images used to identify the turtles are collected by the conservationist.  Besides doing scientific research, it is also pretty fun.