When we were in Hawai’i last month I took my kids to the Kahalu’u Beach Park (above) in Kailua-Kona to go snorkeling. I affectionately refer to the place as “fish in a bucket,” because it’s so darned easy to see fish. (There’s a good slide show on this site that has 19 more pictures of what it’s like.)
The day we went, however, the place was overrun with hapless tourists standing on the coral (bad), and generally flailing about. (I was one of those, trying not to swallow water while propping up my youngest.)
One sea turtle was loitering in the shallow water, eating and letting some gentle waves wash him this way and that. But because this is a city beach, he was surrounded by pale, sunscreen-gooped people, about twenty feet from where some volunteer was patiently explaining all the things you weren’t supposed to do so the reef and its poor denizens wouldn’t get completely thrashed.
It was a perversion of nature, an endangered species surrounded by us icky humans like were were in an interactive zoo. Then, when things didn’t look as if they could get get any weirder, an teenager waddled up with his waterproof camera, stuck it into the one foot of water, and snapped off a couple pictures of the turtle’s head.
The text on the kid’s shirt said it all: “Industrial Vultures.”